Friday, December 9, 2011

Read a work of Christian Fiction without complaining (part 1)

In October, I decided to tackle my list item to read a work of Christian fiction without complaining.  See, I am a Christian, but also an English major and I have pretty high standards for what I think are good books on which to spend my limited reading time.  (Basically--self-disclosing here--I'm a book snob).  In my limited exposure, I have found Christian literature to be, let's say, below my standard.  When I made my list, I added this, believing that there had to be a good piece of fiction that was Christian in nature.  Right? Something?

I'd heard several people say what a good book The Red Tent was, so I decided to pick it up from the library, thinking this would satisfy my intentions for putting this item on my list.  Well, I have a few things to say about this...1) it is most definitely not a Christian book and 2) I need to ask more questions when my friends recommend books to me.

About #1, it's totally fine that this book isn't a Christian book.  Few books I read are.  So that's not my issue.  What my issue is is that now I can't check this item off my list with integrity. :)

The story is written from the point of view of Dinah, Jacob's only living daughter, and sister to the famous twelve sons of Israel and Jacob's wives.  So, it is a fictional account of the female perspective on some of the stories in the Old Testament.  It's clearly got a lot of anthropological research into ancient near Eastern cultures and roots in the Hebrew texts.  The title comes from the separate tent the women would go to in order to keep ritually separate/clean during their cycles and, in the book, was seen as a place of female bonding.  The ladies spend a lot of time there practicing their familial religions because, in the tent, they can keep this secret from their husband.  Biblical Pillars like Leah, Rachel, and Rebecca are cast in really different lights than in the Biblical accounts. To be clear, I'm not bothered or threatened by this, I was just caught off guard.

About #2...Dear people who recommended this book to forgot to mention it was really, um, interesting.  Ok, no hating, but I didn't love this book! Maybe it was because I'm not so much of a girls' girl or maybe it's because I thought it was so sad and depressing or maybe because I thought the story line dragged on and on or maybe it was because I was expecting something so different, I don't know.  But I didn't love it.  Like I said before, no hating.

So, I can say that I read one more book toward my annual 15, but I can't yet say that I've finished this list item.  I'm pondering finally reading The Shack, another book I've avoided... ;).