Monday, May 22, 2006


Book 25: Captivating

Well well well. as you can see, i am only a quarter of the way to my reading goals, and have just over one month until half of the year is over. that's a bummer. i am currently in wildwood, new jersey, on summer project. i had hoped that spending seven weeks here would help my reading. now i'm not so sure. perhaps once eager young college students arrive i'll have more time during the day to read. right now we're very busy preparing for a summer adventure. and cleaning a nasty old house that resembles the bates motel. if you told me that someone was in here dead, i'd believe you. it smells bad and i can't tell if it's me or the couch i'm sitting on.

anyway, to the book. let me give you my initial reaction: gag. that's what i thought before i read the book. then i began to read and had to admit that some of the authors' premises connected with my heart. my mom always teases me that i'm an emotionless rock, which is not true. i'm just extremely selective in choosing those with whom i share such things. the book is written by john and stasi eldredge to women about recapturing their hearts. they write that women are created by god with a desire to be romanced, to share in an adventure and to be found beautiful. yes, i'll agree with that. and yes, i think those are god-given desires. but i was a little disturbed that the book seemed to only affirm that yes, i'm beautiful and yes, it's okay to long for a knight in shining armor. they touched briefly on the idea that god does those things and that we should turn to christ and reflect him in our feminine hearts, but it was all so vague and syrupy that i can't in good conscience recommend it. and don't even get me started on their writing style. it was like a 200 page hallmark card. it's one thing to use poetic license to break the occasional grammar rule for emphasis, such as an incomplete sentence. it's quite another to have five out of seven in a paragraph be phrases. another thing entirely. unacceptable. i felt as though i was wading through contrived and sugary assurances more than anything else. perhaps this is the less emotional side of me coming out and i need to seep in these kinds of things to connect with my feminine heart, but i just didn't enjoy this book. i wish that instead of telling me i was okay the way i was and encouraging me to seduce a man (that was an interesting chapter) it had pointed me more towards christ. john and stasi just didn't do that. and honestly, as a single woman of 27 (today is actually my birthday. happy birthday me) it was somewhat hard to read. it talks a LOT about the interaction, romantically, of men and women and a lot about our desires in that department. this book made me feel sad about being single, and that is something i rarely feel. maybe that's a good thing; maybe i bury things so deep i don't know they are issues and i'm really a crazy freak. i don't know. so, those are my thoughts. i realize tons of women love this book, and this review might draw and adverse reaction. i'm cool with that.

Not being a John Eldridge fan, I didn't really enjoy the book either. There are many other books that I would reccomend ahead of this one, but I know a lot of people who have read this book and really got a lot out of it. I guess that is good. So I would say to the people who have read it and enjoyed it, that its pretty good and I learned one or two things. Actually I don't know if I've talked to anyone else who didn't like it. Maybe some people actually like getting sappy Hallmark cards and this 200 page one is great. My biggest complaint about the book was the lack of meat in it and based on your post you seem to agree with that too.
no, neither did i... and this has little to do with being a man, i believe. i'm not much of an eldredge fan in general. misquoted scripture, lack of consideration for context, translation hopping, excessive emotionalizing, man-centered theology (kind of an oxymoron), open theology tendencies, disagreeable principles in general, and overall semi-impressive writing lead me away from choosing him as my favorite author or recommending his writing to anyone. i feel tricked, after having liked Wild At Heart so much for the first 4 read throughs, as i've been realizing in the last year just how questionable the book and his viewpoint are. i think he's just another bandwagon author of our day, one of many.
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This book is definitely geared towards "feelers" in the Myers-Briggs kind of way. Being a "feeler" and dating a "feeler", we both are huge John Eldredge fans who were impacted by this book and "Wild at Heart". I can understand that "thinkers" may not dig these books as much, but I do think they should be considered credible.
i think it's more an issue of the validity of the content than the mode of deliverance (feeling v. thinking).
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