We have a new feature at CFB, well and old feature that I've forgotten to do--Christian Fiction Reviewed. I know you all get tired of my review snippets and I like to read and share what others are saying about my favorite books, particularly when these books are great.
Today I found a reviewer blog discussing Beth Patillo's Jane Austen Ruined My Life(Guideposts.) I'm a big Patillo and Jane Austen fan, so was giddy about reading and reviewing this book. But I haven't had the chance to do it...Girl Scout Cookies, my biz, life. you know...
So I found a great review of this book from Jennifer of The Literate Housewife Review Blog
The idea of blaming Jane Austen for ruining your life sounded fun and interesting. I didn’t research the book or the author any further because, quite honestly, they had me with the title. I don’t normally read Christian fiction, so when I opened the package and noticed that the book was published by Guideposts, it knocked the wind out of my sails. It’s not that I don’t think that Christian authors can write well or even tell a wonderful story. I know that’s not true at all. There are some many wonderful authors of all faiths throughout the ages. I just don’t like to be preached to in my fiction – be that about religion, politics, philosophy, etc, and I find that modern Christian authors are not subtle in their evangelization.
Ouch! I agree that many Christian fiction titles paint a heavy coat of Christian orthodoxy in the novels. However, from what I know by working on the back side/the dark side--lol-- is that sometimes the publishing house expects or/and demands that the author color Jesus on every page. I applaud Guideposts for treating readers as Christ would and let them think for themselves.
To use a biblical phrase, I gird my loins in preparation for reading a book that I believe will spend most of its energy beating me over the head with its message. With Jane Austen Ruined My Life, this was completely unnecessary. Had I not recognized the publisher, I wouldn’t have necessarily picked up on the author’s faith at all...She grew a lot and learned a lot about herself over the course of her trip, but she didn’t have the great religious epiphany I was dreading. If you havae similar views about Christian Fiction, I happily suggest that you give Jane Austen Ruined My Life a try.Yeah, no required conversion scene at the end! Let me stop playing and speak a little truth here. Most contemporary Christian novelists do not write or desire to write conversion scenes in their novel. They have enough wherewithall to seek out an agent who will find them a publishing house, who doesn't want that kind of writing. For those of you "edgy" Christian Fiction writers I would take a look at Guideposts, as a possible publisher to work with.
On the other hand, playing Angels Advocate for a minute here. Conversion scenes are still revelant to Christian literature. The execution of them is the sticking point. Of course, they aren't needed any every book, but when they are present in the book for whatever meaning they should fit the book's tone and all over vision for the book.
Quick question: Have you ever read a novel with a great conversion scene? If so, what was it?
My favorite has been for a long time, Shug Avery's conversion in The Color Purple. What's yours?