Book Chat

This month’s book reviews, which contain affiliate links:


jesusI loved the first few chapters of Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl, in which the author told of her growing up years in the Church of Christ.  I think Susan Campbell and I share more than a first name, because many of her recollections were very familiar to me (and hilariously written, I might add).

Campbell and her family were in church every time the door was open, and she was a Bible Bowl Champion.  However, even as she listened attentively to the preacher and her Sunday School teachers and knocked on doors for Jesus, she had her doubts – principally because of the second-class treatment of women in the church.

In what’s becoming predictable in my latest reads, Campbell ends up leaving the church  and becoming enlightened, i.e. liberal.

Yes, I should have quit with this one while I was ahead, but I felt compelled to continue.  Campbell recounts a visit to Haiti in one chapter, where she decries the fact that “my country has played a major role in helping destroy this country.”

O-kay, then.  Never mind the incredible generosity of Americans – the goods we send to all kinds of countries, the kids we sponsor and adopt – never mind all that.  You know, reading things like this really helps me understand why some people were so happy about Obama’s election.  They truly do seem to feel like America needs to apologize.

Anyway, off-topic I know, but I enjoyed Campbell’s memoirs before she became enlightened.  In short – I liked her better as a Church of Christ member!  I recommend the first half of this book.


A Reliable WifeI saw A Reliable Wife recommended somewhere and it sounded intriguing …  set in 1908 Wisconsin, town patriarch Ralph Truitt advertises for a “reliable wife.”   He was married once long ago, but this ended tragically and now his loneliness has him wishing for a life where “everything could be saved and nobody went insane.”  His ad is answered by Catherine Land, whose background is cloudy but whose “unhappiness had been made bearable only by the certain knowledge that somewhere there lived people whose lives were not like her own.”

We soon learn that Catherine is not the innocent thing we thought, but is planning to poison Ralph in order to inherit his considerable wealth.  In cahoots with her on this is her boyfriend, who just happens to be Ralph’s long-lost son Antonio (and whose hatred for Ralph has led him to hatch this plan).

However, along the way Catherine comes to see that Ralph isn’t so awful, and perhaps Antonio is.

You’ll have to read the book to see how the whole thing ends up, but it’s well-written and engaging.  A few more sex scenes than I wanted to read, but hey – it’s written by a man.  Recommended.


9 thoughts on “Book Chat

  1. I loved reading your reviews of these! I wouldn’t have thought of recommending half of a book, but it’s a great idea. I may do it in the future.

  2. 🙂 on the half-book recommendation! I’m with Janet–I might try that in the future!

  3. I don’t think I”ve ever seen anyone recommend 1/2 a book before. LOL. But I know exactly what you mean enlightened = liberal (especially when it comes to theology/church etc.)

    I enjoyed reading your reviews.

  4. So sad that “Christians” were the reason for Susan’s departure from the church and yet had she ever actually dated Jesus she would have recognized his heart and stuck it out loveing His people not because they deserved it but because he desires it.

    I don’t know if that made sense, it did when I thought about it. Just sad that she missed the point. Yes God’s people fail but God does not and still he does not change just because we don’t want to be a part of something. Hmm. Okay enough Jess, enough. 🙂

  5. “Dating Jesus” sounds especially intriguing to me since I grew up in the Church of Christ (still there) and could agree with her on the excessively subordinate role of women. But I don’t want to end up like she did since you didn’t like her very much by the end of the book. 🙂 I dream of what the “perfect church” should look like; I haven’t seen it in real-life yet. I really look forward to HEAVEN where we WILL have all our kinks worked out. God is so wonderful to love us enough to want us there with him.

    I enjoy your honest reviews – it really helps me know whether or not to pick up a book. Thanks for sharing! Keep ’em coming.

  6. Wow, I hadn’t heard of Dating Jesus but that sounds like one that I would find completely fascinating! I’m so glad you mentioned it!

    THanks for linking up!

  7. I too am somewhat discouraged by all the women who think being “enlightened” means the Bible isn’t true; yet usually still claim to be Christians. I’m reminded of a quote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.”
    — G. K. Chesterton

    The things God says about the role of women sounds hard to our modern ears; but like everything else He says, you won’t really understand the blessings until you obey the commandments. It works, is all I’m saying.

  8. I’ve had the first one on my list for a while–I should request it. I read a similar one this month, “I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed” about growing up Jehovah’s Witness. Same problem with the end–it was funny when she wrote about her early years. Later she sounded like a very spoiled little girl!

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