Top critical review
I loved the romantic aspect, but...
Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2018
I recently finish reading "When We Were Young" by Karen Kingsbury. As always, in her novels, the author points her readers directly to the Lord Jesus Christ for any need; which is one of the reasons she is one of my favorites. I also enjoyed the idea of time travel, as it pertained to Emily revisiting the past and Noah seeing the future; while also revisiting some of their past together. I also greatly enjoyed seeing their love story played out for the readers.
Notwithstanding, there were aspects of the story line, which I found disappointing, and very often disturbing. For instance, it is very unclear what exactly had prompted Noah to have these flashbacks and/or visions of the future. For example, is he having a vision from the Lord? Has he been visited by Angel?
Moreover, the thing I find the most disturbing about this novel is the quality of the research done regarding medical conditions. For example, although Clara is a very sweet and likable character, I feel she is very poorly written. I feel that the author may be confusing cerebral palsy AKA CP with autism, stroke, or generalized anxiety disorder. While CP has been known to encompass seizures, it is not the cause. While CP a brain injury, it is not fatal; nor does it cause facial deformities or panic attacks. Furthermore, although some CP sufferers exhibit mental retardation, that is not the norm. Many people with the condition are very intelligent. The area that cerebral palsy most effects is one motor control. Therefore, the scene in which Clara is changing her clothes independently is not accurate. Since it is already evident that the disorder that has affected her speech, it stands to reason that motor control would not be sufficient for that activity. It is offensive to the reader to state that all persons with CP are deficient in their ability to learn or to say that the condition is degenerative. This is not the case, as many people with CP have gone on to go to college and take on jobs such as tutoring in foreign languages. Lastly, I would like to say that life expectancy of a person with cerebral palsy is not limited in any way by the condition itself. I feel that insinuating otherwise is very disrespectful and misleading.
I would like to conclude by saying that I do not believe the author wrote these things in order to be disrespectful, but rather, I believe she was trying to show how sweet the character of Clara was. However, I also believe that one does not need to go to that extreme to create a relatable character. I also feel that if proper research is not conducted even for a character even in a fictional novel, that information misleads people regarding certain medical conditions. While I read the novel to see what happened to Emily and Noah, the inaccuracies in the research, and the resulting poorly written character, sincerely detracted from my enjoyment of the novel.
Nevertheless, I greatly enjoyed the humor between the characters and all of the loved they shared. May the Lord continue to bless the author as she continues to inspire others with the gift that God has given her.