Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Secret

Beverly Lewis
Amish - Novel
Bethany House Publishers - 2009

In an earlier Grace Note I talked about Andrea Sachs’ Time Magazine’s article on the current Amish love stories, dubbed “bonnet books” by some. They’re not really romance novels in the traditional sense because they don’t follow the romance formula. Actually, I think they’re more “soap opera books” because their let’s-not-talk-about-it-now (ever) efforts at communication drive the plot. As a psychotherapist, I find the character’s dysfunctional lives very sad. Get on with it!” I scream. “Say what you mean!”

I know what the Bible says about life and the Amish interpretation, to me, isn’t it. (Unless you’re a man and would be king.) The popularity of these books escapes me. Reading this one is like four hours watching an ant farm. (Those ants really know how to live.) The bonnet books are supposed to be inspirational fiction. They only inspire me to throw up. Not the writing, the characters. How can professing Christians be so strict with behaviors that aren’t taught by Scripture to be bad. The characters don’t allow themselves to communicate. They are ineffective in every sense of the word. They run away from problems. They let their men get away with being world class snots. They have made turning the other cheek into an art form. They don’t show the God that I worship as a loving God who is always interested in our welfare

Beverly Lewis is a good writer. She spells well. Her coherent sentences advance even to her paragraphs. Page after page, she draws her characters with clean, crisp lines; but who could stand to live with them? Give me a nice axe murderer anytime, wait!, a handsome axe murderer with a darling suntanned face and a really deep voice. It’s not just no automobiles, no radios, no electricity, and their lackluster fashion sense. It’s just, well, no good sense at all. Life lived this way is ineffective and no darn fun! I don’t think that’s what God intended. It seems like a sure route to depression. It’s not OK to have a car or truck. But it is OK to pay someone who has one to transport them or their freight for a fee. Can anyone justify that for me? If so, please share. This book made me want to cry for those living in this lifestyle. Help me out here if I’m missing the point.

The genre boasts at least a dozen writers. No computers, no typewriters, no dictionaries. Yesterday I found a dozen quill pens in the attic. Now I’ve found a market for them.

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