Friday, November 14, 2008

Stephen Baldwin's fiction book

Okay, I'm reading Stephen Baldwin's Book, "The Life and Death of Gabriel Phillips." It's the first book I'll be reading for the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance since I joined them. Okay, let me admit it: I like Christian films, the kind of stuff you see on Lifetime which is all rural and nostalgic. Heck, I'm a black girl but I'm American. I like country boys. I like sweet corn fed guys with decent rural natures. I like a guy in flannel and denim sitting behind the wheel of a pickup truck. But, okay, those are movies.

When it comes to books, I really have a problem with Christian fiction because like much of Christianity, Christian fiction tends to be sentimental, preachy, nostalgic about Caucasian ways. And honestly, some of the folks I see in Christian fiction are folks who would probably think I'm a sinner or at least not Christian enough. Their tolerance for non-normal behavior just isn't there. And some of these folks would probably have "reasons" to dislike me...ranging from politics to race to my interracial marriage. It's very hard to root for a character when she reminds you of racist folks you've dealt with and when you're saying, "Heck! This woman would be totally racist against me in real life." (Yeah, I think that when I watch old thirties heart-felt films like Grapes of Wrath too. I'm a cynic; I just can't help it.)

So imagine my joy when I got what seemed like a dark novel from a Christian company. If you've followed this blog of mine, you'll notice that I seem to have a dark streak. I'll post books but the ones I actually read or review for curledup.com or compulsivereader.com or blogcritics.com are books like Somaly Mam's autobiography of her life as a child prostitute. I just feel better with the darker side of life.

So then, up comes this book and dang, if it isn't well-written! Toooo well-written, I think. Heck, I don't write that well! Stephen Baldwin co-wrote it with Mike Tabb. So, what exactly does co-write mean? Did Stephen do the plot and Mike write the actual book? Call me a cynic but the book is so well written I just don't think a new writer could write this well. Unless Stephen's been secretly practicing writing all these years.

Anyways, some Christian folks are actually squirming about the bad words in this book. I love my Christian brothers and sisters but sometimes I want to scream: "Stop acting as if you have all these rarefied emotions. Are you really going to get all bent out of shape over the F-word? or the d-word? or the h-word?" ::rolling eyes:: come on, folks! I (generally) don't use the words. Once or twice a year, maybe. But I will say that people who seem so pristine and unworldly kinda turn me off.

I don't want to talk about the review, though. Will write the review and post it to blogcritics over the weekend. But the book has a premise I really find hard to swallow...and it better prove itself -- believably-- to me by the end or else I will scream about how preachy it is.

Enough said.
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