Friday, September 23, 2011

Faith and Fiction Round Table: Forbidden

Oh goodness.  Ted Dekker, what can I say?  I really really wanted to love this book.  Ted Dekker had two strikes against him (the book The House that he wrote with Frank Peretti and the movie Three) but I was willing to give him one last shot because of the FaFRT and because my friend Booney has read and enjoyed him.  Plus the idea of Christian dystopia intrigued me.  And I wanted this one to be so good that I spent over a month trying to read it, but the truth is I only made it about halfway through.  I tried to finish for our discussion, but just couldn't make myself.  Since I didn't manage to finish, I don't want to discuss/review the book in particular, but address one of Christian fiction's chief failings in my mind: the rip off of secular culture.

This was yet another example of how an author of Christian fiction has taken what secular fiction is doing and tried to Christian-ify it.  Dystopia is super popular right now, so Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee paired up to write this dystopian novel.  Ok, I can get on board with that, but the problem for me was (as it has been with other books) that not only is it just another dystopia, it's not even an original or well-done dystopia.  If you read YA at all, you probably recognized the plot line: a future world where all emotion has been erased (Delirium?).  Except guess what?  Our MC has found the cure - drinking the blood of someone who lived before emotion was destroyed.  So he does, goes through a horrible transformation and then his female best friend decides that she might as well try it too.  And guess what?  They immediately fall in love. 

This was where I really gave up caring because it was so far beyond belief to me.  That two characters who have never experienced emotions other than fear and who are being pursued by the government who is trying to kill them and has killed their families also just happen to have the time to not only process all the new emotions but fall in love.  And almost have sex, because we don't want to NOT appeal to secular culture, but we can't go through with it either because then the Baptist bookstores might not sell it either.  It's that playing to both markets that really got me with this one.  Not because I'm opposed to Christians writing fiction and selling it in the secular market and not because I'm opposed to Christians writing fiction and selling it to BOTH markets - I think cross-market advertising opportunities for Christian fiction are amazing.  But write something that rings true.  Don't try so blatantly to appeal to both that the writing suffers - and for me that is where this book fell apart. 

I am desperate to see some Christian authors who successfully market to both audiences - or really just write well despite what market they appeal to.  Not that there aren't Christians doing that, but I'd love to see more examples of authors who are Christians who are writing about life and who aren't writing for a specific market - and way too much of what Christians are doing right now is overtly aimed at one market or the other.  Just write and do it well - unfortunately this isn't an example of that.

Check out what the other members had to say:
  • Book Addiction



  • Ignorant Historian

  • Linus's Blanket

  • My Friend Amy

  • My Random Thoughts

  • One Persons Journey through a world of Books

  • Roving Reads

  • Semicolon

  • The 3 R's Blog // Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness

  • TinasBookReviews

  • Victorious Café

  • Word Lily

    1. I agree, and writing is not the only area that Christians need to show originality and true creativity. I'm so tired of seeing copycat bands and artwork and more. It makes me kind of sick to walk into a Christian bookstore because everything there is an attempt to mimic pop culture (or flat out make money). As those who have a personal relationship with an incredibly creative God, Christians should be setting the standard in art, not following in secular culture's footsteps.

    2. I am always looking for great Christian Fiction reads that are not too fluffy... and have a drawing form both Christian and secular sides- I did enjoy this book but Dekker has as of the last few years (IMO) made the books too secular.

    3. I agree it was very recycled and unoriginal..:( I thought a lot of violence and "sexy" stuff was written only to intrigue general market readers.

      I really like Ted Dekker- he's one of my favorite writers, you should try some of his old stuff like Obsessed or The Heaven series...those are fantastic!!

    4. Try Frank Peretti