Monday, October 29, 2012


Emily's Request
Language: None. 
Violence: On a 1-10 scale (1 being low, 10 being high), I would give it a 5 or so. It does have a couple of nasty-implying scenes, though the novel is not graphic in wording. 
Sexual: On the same scale, a 5-7, depending on your own views. Again, it is not at all graphic. At all. At all at all. So that should not concern you. However, it does tell that it was done. 
Rating as a book: PG-13. 
Rating it would be as a movie: If they made it into a movie they would likely include some nasty scenes (as secular moviemakers). It would be an R easily. As Christian moviemakers, at least a PG; probably PG-13. 
Therefore: Mature teenagers are the youngest I would allow to read this.

  Karen Kingsbury is hailed as the most inspirational Christian writer on the market. She resides in the Pacific Northwest--or, more precisely, about four hours away from me in Seattle, Washington (unless she's relocated). With nearly thirty books published, she's very successful. She's even had one of her novels made into a movie.
  Yet until Divine, I never agreed with the "fact" of her ability to inspire. I didn't get how she could be so successful when her novels were badly written. With unidentifiable characters. And so little Christianity in them that I thought that if not for a few morals they couldn't even qualify.
  The characters, the plot, and the level of faith are what I've been grading my novels by in this blog. That's purely for fictional books, of course; once I get to nonfiction I'll have to change my thesis (oh, what a joy that will be). But. I'll try to be helpful:
  The subject of Divine is centered on a modern-day retelling of Mary Magdalene. That in itself is very curious. Mary Magdalene is one of the most popular women in the Bible, with her wild love for Jesus, her loyalty to Him. In fact, suspicions have been raised over the possibility that she might have married Jesus. Which is not true, obviously; still, she was incredibly close to Christ. She is also, apparently, widely held to have been a prostitute, something I don't think I realized until reading this novel (or, more accurately, reading the preface). And, oh yes, she had cast out of her seven demons.
  Similarly, Mary Madison, the Mary Magdalene of the story, fought with seven struggles. Fear, lying, addiction, faithlessness, promiscuity, suicidal thoughts, self-inflicted pain. Yet now she is "the most powerful woman in Washington, D.C." with her shelters for abused women, her counseling degree, her charity(s), and her repeated speeches before the Senate to promote the passing of a bill she endorses. Oh, and she's knockout gorgeous. Sound like a cliche?
  It's not.
  Oh, it's not. Her mother lived with her on the streets. Jayne Madison was a harlot even though Mary didn't know it at the time her mom was taken from her. At that time was Mary sentenced to the same life--a horrible life that will tie your stomach up in knots and make you afraid. After her sentence of prostitution ends, various occurrences continue to shove her in the direction of the devil. She, who was open to God as an innocent ten-year-old, now proceeds to tell Him He's not real.
  But in this novel Kingsbury expresses something I have never heard her express before. She writes as a true Christian--a "little Christ"--should. She glorifies God. If you shed tears while reading books on a regular basis, you might want to either have tissues on hand, or go somewhere you're alone, while reading this. Even if you're like me and don't often cry during reading hour, your throat will probably clog up.
  Of course there are minor errors which only a grammar cop like myself would critique. Such as on several occasions telling the story for the characters instead of allowing them to tell it themselves. Or slight cliches. Or shallow personalities who need a bit of humanity to pick them up. But overall it was amazing. Her life exhibited the truest love of all--the love of Jesus.

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