Monday, 7 September 2009

Book Review: Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers

heather Before we get started with book review week, I feel like I should let you know that The Collective (individually) reviews books all the time over on GoodReads. (Lots of our BFFs are there too. We love our BFFs. Hi, BFFs!)

So, book reviews.

Many, many years ago, I worked as an actual minister at an actual Baptist church in the actual Appalachia region where people actually believe that on the eighth day God created the Remington bolt-action rifle, so that Man could protect himself from the dinosaurs. And the homosexuals.

While I was working at this actual Baptist church, I dated a lot of actual Baptist boys. A lot of actual Baptist boys. For reasons I wouldn't understand until much later in life -- thanks to some experimental kissing and plenty of therapy -- it never worked out with these fellas, even though they all had golden souls.

After I'd broken up with maybe the fifth music/youth/discipleship/evangelism minister, a friend of mine gave me a Christian romance novel called Redeeming Love. She thought if I read it I might begin to accept God's special plan for Christian boys and Christian girls.

I read it. I still didn't accept the plan. And now I am going to review it because I found it in the garage last week and these days the plan is a dot to me.

Redeeming Love is based on the Old Testament book of Hosea, in which God tells the prophet Hosea to marry a harlot so that Israel will have a tabloid story to represent how they are always whoring around on Him. Hosea's hooker was named Gomer and, as hookers are wont to do, she kept running off and hooking with all his friends, and he kept going after her all, "Gomer, if you're going to have sex with anyone, it's going to be me, because Jesus loves you." (Actually, Jesus wasn't born yet, so that last part isn't exactly historically accurate, but that's sort of the sentiment.)

Anyway, so, Redeeming Love is Hosea, only it is set in California during the gold rush and Gomer is named "Sarah/Angel" and Hosea is named "Michael." Sarah/Angel works in a brothel and one day when Michael, the noble, God-fearing farmer walks past, God says, "Marry that prostitute!" And he does. Because she is hot.

Sarah runs away from him about a hundred times, the way Gomer ran away from Hosea. There's a lot of really heavy-handed symbolism and internal dialogue about the difference between animalistic shagging and making love by candlelight. In the end, Sarah/Angel reveals that her name actually is "Sarah" and not "Angel" and she and Michael have sex in the barn while God looks on, smiling.

The best part about Redeeming Love are the GoodReads reviews, because Christians have feelings about women taking off their clothes.

First, the lovers:

Recommended for:
Anyone who wants to read a story about love that's founded in God's love, and not just in lust

Christian readers looking for something better than the average Godly book

Anyone who loves a good love story and also knows the story in the Bible of Hosea

believers and married folk

Readers looking for frontier inspirational romance or a retelling of the Book of Hosea

anyone who wants a clean love story
There were times during my reading that I was so emotional I had to look away to cry, and then revert my attention back to the story.

wow, a very powerful story! I listened to this one on my iPod. I tried so hard not to cry (especially toward the end) but I finally had to pull over and wipe my eyes when it ended.

What a great romance! It had everything in it...everything. Action, adventure, rape, incest, rape of children, prostitution, adultery and love. What a ride!

everyone must read it at least twice in their lives.

OMGSH!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS DEFINATELY MY FAV BOOK OF ALL TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!! it's about a girl who is sold into prostitution(i think thats how you spell it) at a young age a continues in this lifestyle; until a farmer named micheal is called(by God) to marry her. its a story that mirrors the book of nahum in the bible. but it's sooo good!!!! omgsh!!! i loved it!!!the message in it is soooo powerful! definately a must read for every teenage girl.
(No, seriously. That is a real review.)

And the haters:

Recommended for:
No one!
OK, then!

First of all, this book was PG 13--which I didn't know when I purchased it. I couldn't relate with the characters. Next, and I probably should have mentioned this first--she takes her clothes off way too much. I understand why they got married, but why were they intimate? There was no relationship. She was a prostitue, then got married and was still in that frame of mine. I think the only redeeming quality is that it did not describe the sex ilicitly, except to mention that it happened. Thank you. Then, she had sex with her brother in law, while she was still married. Yuck! o.k, enough said--I would not recommend this book.

This book taught me something about getting book recommendations from people. Just because everyone reads and enjoys a certain book does not mean that it is worth reading. It just means that if those people spend their time reading books like this then they probably should never have learned to read in the first place.

I wanted to smack the main character for being a selfish idiot.

Oh ick. What kind of freaky book club am I in?

So, to sum it up: Redeeming Love has been rewritten. It is called Twilight.

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