Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Becca By The Book by Laura Jensen Walker - REVIEWED

Turning the Paige was my introduction to Laura Jensen Walker’s work as well as the series The Getaway Girls. I enjoyed it! It was well-written, the characters were believable, and I related to their struggles. I wish I could say the same for Becca By The Book.

Becca By The Book features Becca Daniels, the only non-Christian member of the Get Away Girls Book Club. While I think the concept of a book club that travels to destinations within their stories is fabulous, I was not enamored with this story. While I appreciate the way Becca’s friends ministered to her, loved her, and encouraged her throughout the story, and while I believe as Christians we are all called to reach out in love to the lost around us, I got really put off with Becca’s taking the Lord’s name in vain time and time again. I know the character is unsaved, but the author could have had her say any number of things that would have indicated her lack of control over her tongue rather than taking God’s name in vain – multiple times. As I read, it seemed the story focused more on glorifying Becca’s negative, snarky attitude toward Christians and I grew increasingly annoyed at her poking fun of anything related to Christianity.

I realize there are a lot of Christians who feel they are “too good” to love the unlovable. I’ve been a volunteer with a local women’s rehab facility for almost three years now, and believe me, it’s not pretty. I know there are Christians who whack people up side the head with their convictions, and that’s not right either. In my opinion, Becca takes looking at Christians through a non-Christian viewpoint to the extreme. Opportunity after opportunity is taken to take pot-shots at clichĂ© weaknesses of others – homeschooling, clothing, praying…you name it, there is a snarky comment made about it – repeatedly.

The whole dating bet scenario with Ben was a plausible idea – and a good example of similar weaknesses between saved and unsaved people and how they are handled. The way Ben and his church ministered to Becca was realistic and touching at times. But none of it overcame my distaste of Becca taking the Lord’s name in vain, nor the amount of time I had to endure her character making fun of, putting down or making a caricature out of the Christians in the story.

Perhaps the hounds of heaven are pursuing. Becca. I hope so. But I think there was a LOT of room for improvement in the author’s ability to tell this story without abusing the Lord’s name. I was glad to get away from this getaway girl,


Laura Jensen Walker is an award-winning writer and popular national speaker. Her previous novels include Daring Chloe, Turning the Paige, and Reconstructing Natalie, chosen as the first-ever Novel of the Year for Women of Faith® conferences. The author of several non-fiction humor books, Laura lives in Northern California with her husband, Michael, and their canine daughter Gracie.


Mocha with Linda said...

Excellent review. I had similar thoughts, which I will post tomorrow.

Jester916 said...

Get over your self. Non-believer's use the Lord's name in vain all the time. And the last I checked, his name was not his title. Jehovah, or Yaweh would be different. Get out of your bubble and meet some REAL non-Christians and you may find that most of them can be quite bitter towards believers and the Church as whole.

Kim said...

Jester -
Thanks for your scathing comments. You apparently didn't read the entire post. I volunteer at a DRUG rehab center for women. I know what non-christians talk like. Hence my contention with this book - published by a Christian publishing house. They could have made Becca "non-Christian" without taking the Lord's name in vain. I would have preferred more curse words than using God's name in vain.

You missed my point entirely.

Jester916 said...

Had they done that, then she wouldn't be a real Non-Christian now would she? She would just be little more than a stick figure drawing trying to pass itself off as a Van Gogh.

I'm a writer myself and you can't have characters that act differently than they really are. You are more likely to hear a non-believer say "Oh my God" in public than "Holy S**t!" That's just unrealistic. Characters must uphold to who they are or they are just a cheep imitation of who they should be.

And the last I checked, "God" was not his name, it never has been. Take a look at the original texts as the english translations we all use today only say (in caps) THE LORD. That is where the his actually name was used but for respect of God his name was replaced so it would not be spoken aloud. The original Greek and Hebrew texts all either say Jehovah or Elohim and then there is YHVH or YHWH better known as Yahweh.

Andi said...

You are right on point! I have to applaud you for being brave enough to speak your opinion.
@ Kim, just because you volunteer at a drug rehab doesn't mean anything.
It just means you volunteer there and you see hurting people. Non-Christians see Christians as "holier - than -thou" whether we act that way or not that is what they see. They don't see us the way we see ourselves . . as undeserving, walking in grace, by His stripes we are healed . . while it is really sad that that is how they see us, it is the truth. If Laura Jensen Walker had not made the character behave the way she did she would not have been real and she would've been cardboard.
Jester is right on point.

Kim said...

Andi - you too are missing my point entirely. I know how non-Christians speak, I know their hatred for Christ and His children - hence my reference to working with more than 150 addicts. I've lived with them for two weeks as well, and I promise you, most of them utterly despise the things of God.

Again, I think the author and the publishing house could have chosen a better and still effective way of communicating Becca's unsaved condition without abusing the name of God.

Andi said...

Kim -
Yes she could have - operative words - however the book would not have been real! And as Jester said - God is not His name - do a study on the names of God - Jehovah, Yahweh, ElOHIM, EL Shaddi, these are just some of His names - not God. And technically since Christ's death and resurrection His name is Lord.

Cheryl Klarich said...

Hey Kim. I haven't read this one because my daughter Elsa grabbed it first while she was on break from college. Elsa is a pilot who hopes to land planes in the bush of Africa to help those in need there. She was hoping for a heroine who was a daredevil,like herself-a kindred spirit, but was disappointed to find herself feeling attacked by Becca, a fictional character. I think this one really missed the audience... I'm glad that Jester and Andi got something out of the story.