Saturday, April 11, 2009 By: Suzanne

Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser

I received Words Unspoken from the March batch of Early Reviews from LibraryThing. This is my very first ARC. I was so excited! I know that a lot of people get advanced copies but it's never happened to me before so I was thrilled. Unfortunately, I didn't know this author or any of her previous works. I just signed up for this book based on the description. It sounded intriguing:

Lissa Randall's future was bright with academic promise until the tragic accident that took her mother's life - and brought her own plans to a screeching halt. Eighteen months later, she still can't get back behind the wheel.
A casual recommendation to Ev McAllistair's driving school sets in motion a cascade of events...until Lissa begins to wonder if maybe, just maybe, life isn't as random as she thought.

I was not aware that Elizabeth Musser writes Christian Fiction when I signed up to get this book. There's nothing in the description of the book or on her LibraryThing page that would have led me to believe she was Christian Fiction author. I have nothing against Christian Fiction, per se, but since it is not my faith I have a hard time enjoying books with such a strong Christian theme.

The story is actually pretty good and I got very engrossed in what was happening with Lissa and Ev and all the other characters revolving throughout their lives. I found that I even enjoyed Musser's writing style in spite of the constant pressure to believe that the only way to live a moral life is to live a Christian life. I guess that's the biggest problem I have with Christian Fiction. It IS possible to live a moral and non-materialistic life without being Christian but often in these books the people who are immoral or living life for monetary reasons are the ones who aren't living a Christian life. The people who have everything work out in their favor are the ones who either are already living a Christian life or come around to it in the end. I understand the reason these authors are writing in this style is to get across a certain message, but I feel slightly insulted to have someone infer that my life is being lived immorally or simply incorrectly because I am not Christian.

The only real problem I had with the story itself is the way in which non-white people are portrayed. The only black person in the book is a porter or butler (that's never made clear) at a country club. In my mind, a person in a prominent position like this needs to be at least a little educated and would speak as if he was. Musser writes his lines in phonetically. For example, one of the things he says OFTEN is "Sho' Nuf'." It is obvious that she is writing his lines with not only his accent emphasized but also to show that he is not educated. She mentions several times the accents of other people but does not write their lines phonetically. This is a major problem for me. Why is only the 1 black person treated this way in your novel? The other "non-whites" are a few Muslim women that one of the characters is a missionary to in France. Here's a another instance where I was insulted that it is inferred they are only worth something because they've come to the "right" faith and left the "wrong" one.

Seriously, though, other than this main problem and my not agreeing with the message of the book, I enjoyed the story. If you can get passed the way the porter/butler is treated and enjoy Christian Fiction, I recommend you pick up this book.


Andrea Aponte said...

You are a greater woman than I! I don't think I could stomache a book with a Christian slant. In MY experience, the non-Christians I've known have had higher moral standards, more thoughtful moral standards, and lived up to those higher, more thoughtful moral standards better than any Christian I've EVER known. People can get pissed at my comment, I'm just plain tired of this religion and the ignorance it emcompasses.