Rebecca Davis of Here’s The Joy reviewed The Fellowship. She thought it was engaging from the first page, funny, and realistic. And she found the ending satisfying… “in a way.”
But not entirely.
She definitely has a point. My novel does not explore a renewed relationship with Jesus. I made that a deliberate decision, mostly because I wanted to emphasize the fact that Bekah’s issues with God the Father were not because she wasn’t a “real Christian” who “didn’t know Jesus.” Also, her journey from the end of the last chapter to the beginning of the Epilogue could fill up another novel. I know this — my original Epilogues were longer than some of my chapters.
Still, after reading most of Davis’ blog, I see that missing element more clearly now. If I were writing the book now, I’d still make the same decision; but I’d bring out Bekah’s existing relationship with Jesus much more clearly.
I especially like how, in her review, Davis pairs my novel with a book that Bekah definitely could benefit from. It appeals to my sense of story arc, I guess.
Jump on over and read the whole review. Then stick around and read more of Davis’ excellent blog. She addresses twisted Scripture and how the church tends to protect abusers instead of their victims. My favorite category is “challenging the status quo,” where she takes apart not-actually-Biblical statements like “anger is sinful” and “Christians should yield their rights.”
And she actually wrote exactly the kind of book that Bekah (and the Bekah inside myself) needed when coming out of spiritual bondage: Untwisting Scripture. I’ll be posting my own review soon.
Have you read The Fellowship yet? You really should. It gets you absolutely no extra holiness points with God, but it will help you understand either your own past of spiritual abuse, or why someone you love is struggling. Click the link to get to Amazon, or contact me directly.
3 thoughts on “Realistic, Funny, Not Quite Perfect: A Review of “The Fellowship””
Man! I was counting on those extra holiness points!
I stayed up until 2 am reading The Fellowship, then finished the last few pages as soon as I woke up this morning! So, so familiar; I found myself nodding, “Yes! That’s exactly how it was!” Though not raised in ATI, my teen years were permeated by Vision Forum, which as you know, taught the same twisted truths. I love how clearly you sum at all up, so even “outsiders” can understand why in the world we would stay: “Because they said it was God. And I wanted God.”
Well, I’m sorry for your lost sleep. Kind of. 🙂 I’m so glad you identified with the world; I made sure the Fellowship wasn’t based strictly on ATI, but was a conglomeration of many different authoritarian systems. (The campus was based on the church my husband grew up in.)
To be honest, I think Vision Forum was worse than ATI. Gothard’s model was the early to mid 20th century ideals of business principles turned into religious ones. But Phillips reached farther back, to the mythological antebellum era, a sickly sweet, blatantly white-male-worshiping world of perfection.
That line you quoted was a rather late addition, one I had to add to smooth out an earlier wrinkle. As soon as I wrote it, I fell in love with it. Yes, Bekah — that’s why we stayed.
Thank you for the comment! So glad to hear from you.