The last couple weeks, I have realized that I have become quite the snob. Literary snob, that is. Blame it on my 10th grade English teacher or Jane Austen or on those 2 years in college when I did little other than critically review acclaimed authors’ works. Or just blame it on my time-deficiency conundrum. I have very little spare time on my hands these days, and I love to read. I really love to read. So when I do read, it must be:
1) Intrinsically interesting to me (which is why I never take my husband’s recommendations to read his leadership books, or anything non-fiction, for that matter, besides biographies).
2) Immediately engaging (mostly because I have reader’s A.D.D.). I will literally fall asleep reading it if it doesn’t grab me in the first couple chapters. And if it fails the stay-awake! challenge in the first 2 chapters, I’m afraid it is destined for the saddest of book deaths: the basket next to my bed of books I mean to read someday, but never seem to muster the enthusiasm for.
2) Impeccably well-written, which is why also I rarely read…here it comes, my snotty confession…Christian fiction. I have to tell you: Janette Oke makes me want to throw up with all her prairie-people sappiness. (I apologize if you like Jannette.) And don’t even get me started on Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkin, friends (won’t apologize for that one, no way, no how). Ted Dekker is decent, but he freaks me out half the time, and Francine Rivers has her moments. But overall, I just don’t feel like most of the writers in this “genre” have figured out how to reconcile their faith to any sense of authenticity in their writing.
So when my mom recommended to me a novel by Joyce Meyer (who always writes non-fiction) and insisted that I read it quickly and mail it back to her because it doesn’t even belong to her (she even made me promise, the gall!), I sighed inside and out. “Mom! I don’t read Christian fiction! I’m far too educated for that.” I didn’t actually think or say that, of course. but you know…
So here comes another confession: The Penny was excellent, really. The first chapter didn’t grab me, and neither did the second admittedly. But I promised. So I forged ahead. And somewhere along the way, I really identified with this 14 year-old protagonist, Jenny Blake, whom God slowly handpicks from some seriously miry clay, for reasons she doesn’t understand, and lovingly causes her to believe in Him, to love Him, to follow Him. And how every single thing that happened to her, the good and the bad, was sifted through His good AND sovereign hands–my lifesong. Actually, I cried through just about the entire last half of the book; I felt like I was leaking out my eyes some very old misunderstandings between God and I.
And I’m glad my mom made me promise. Thanks Mom.