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Kingsbury's "Fifteen Minutes"
January 8, 2014 - Jodelle Greiner
Life is about choices and choices affect not just the person making them, but everyone that person touches, like dominoes falling. That's what Zack Dylan learns when he chases his dream in "Fifteen Minutes" by Karen Kingsbury. When Zack sets off to audition for the singing competition "Fifteen Minutes," he wants to glorify God with his talent and hopefully earn enough money to save his family's Kentucky horse farm. He promises his girlfriend Reese that the show won't change him, but it's a promise he can't keep, especially after meeting fellow contestant Zoey Davis. Chandra Olson, who won the competition a few years ago and lost everything she cared about as a result, is now back as a judge. She took the job for one reason: warn these young contestants what fame will do to them. She sees the price Zack is already paying, but doesn't know how to make him see he's not in control and he's losing his faith in God in the process. Kelly Morgan thinks she's got a great life. She works hard to look young and stay in shape. She's got a much younger famous singer for a boyfriend and a hot job as a Fifteen Minutes judge. But she's haunted by a marriage on the rocks and a voice in her head she can't silence, her father’s voice calling her back to her Christian roots. Will she have to lose everything before she listens? When all is said and done, nobody's lives will be the same after "Fifteen Minutes."
There’s a reason Kingsbury is a force in the Christian fiction market with more than 70 titles. She tells a good story with very human, well-drawn characters.
In “Fifteen Minutes,” Kingsbury takes the reader on a back-stage tour behind the floodlights with pin-point observations that are uncomfortably unflattering of the celebrity-making machine. She expertly captures the seductive call of fame with up-to-the-minute references and shines a bright light on modern culture and its worship of celebrities. She makes good points about holding onto your values and the all-too-human tendency to enjoy adulation.
Like Zack, many people think they are smart enough and strong enough to handle fame and notoriety, but then they get caught up in the strategy where "reality" is choreographed, scripted and manipulated.
One thing that always bothers me about stories like this is the belief that the young person seeking a life in the entertainment field is falling into the pit of hell. As Zack’s Grandpa Dan says, “God-fearing men... we live a quiet life,” pushing the notion that you can only serve God with your head down and if you can sing, the only place you should do it is in church. There are a number of people in entertainment and sports who hold onto their values and use the platform to promote their faith. Zack’s family seems to be on the brink of disowning him because he changes his clothes and hair, as well as starts singing some songs that lack Christian values. Reese questions if she ever knew Zack at all, which makes me question how strong their love was and how they would have weathered a small storm, let alone a big one, in their future lives. If you love someone, you love them through it all and try to show them where they’ve gotten off-track. In that way, Chandra is more of a friend to Zack than his family and girlfriend are.
There is no way of life that is safe from temptation, it’s how you chose to navigate it that makes a difference. Everyone will fall down at some point; it’s how you pick yourself up and move forward that’s important. Just remember 1 Corinthians 10:13, KJV: “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
In the end, Kingsbury shows that God is always in control and things work out the way they’re supposed to. That doesn’t mean it’s easy or you won’t pay a price.
If you want to take a look inside the celebrity-making world, pick up Kingsbury’s “Fifteen Minutes.”
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