Book Review: Never As Good As the First Time
by Mari Walker
Publication Date: Apr 01, 2008
List Price: $19.99 (store prices may vary)
Page Count: 304
Imprint: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck
Book Reviewed by Emanuel Carpenter
What happens when a good, Christian housewife finds herself divorced and having to fend for herself and her children? Perhaps she will find another believer to share her life with. Maybe she’ll put it all in God's hands. Or maybe she’ll be like the protagonist in ’Never As Good As the First Time’ and just get buck wild.
Samai, the main character in Mari Walker's debut novel, suddenly finds herself on the verge of divorce from her cruel minister husband Ian due to the silliest of arguments. While separated, she couldn't care less about the love they once shared. What she misses is the sex. Enter Zane, a good-looking but foul-mouthed old crush from high school who causes her to say:
I loved the tenderness I felt when he held me. Not only that, his kisses held the promise of something more. More than the way he made me warm all over just being in his presence. More than the way his kisses made me dizzy. I wouldn’t like to myself about wanting, no needing to find out what the more was.
Though Samai worries that her relationship with Zane will cause her to commit adultery since the divorce papers have not even been filed, she soon discovers that great sex with a man who is not her husband is the least of her problems when he introduces her to a world of drugs and danger. To compound matters, she must also deal with how her three children are adjusting to the breakup with Ian, workplace issues, and missing church since she must work on Sundays.
’Never As Good As the First Time’ is a fascinating page turner that manages to get away with serving two masters, the erotica crowd and Christian readers. Not only does it contain one of the hottest, pulsating lovemaking passages you may ever read but it also remembers to tell us that even through the most trying times, people still rely on faith to get them through.
There are some not-so-glorious moments in the novel though. The writing doesn't dazzle you with cleverness. The first-person narrative causes the author to tell through narration much more than show through dialogue. It takes a while to discover what the true plot is. Also, if it is indeed trying to reach two crowds (three if you count the street lit elements), the sex, drug references and profanity may shock readers with virgin ears.
But these minor details are easily overcome by a strong plot, unforgettable characters, and a story that just about any reader will find something to relate to rather it be church life, single parenthood, or even remembering the hottest sex you've ever had. ’Never As Good As the First Time’ is not only about second chances at life and love but it is also about what happens when one begins to slide down the slippery slope of sin. It is an exciting debut that should earn Mari Walker accolades and new fans across the country.