Wednesday 20 March 2024

Book Review: In Defence of Doubt | Val Webb

In Defence of DoubtIn Defence of Doubt by Val Webb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everything you hear from the modern church seems so cut-and-dried. This Truth is the absolute, the Bible is the literal answer to everything; you have to believe in every word it says, or you are not a true Christian. But is that really true?

Val Webb reveals a long history of doubt in the church and how that has moved the understanding of faith and belief-as well as church practices, norms, and culture-forward in many different ways. It's important to note that the protestant church, in its current form, would not be in existence without the many saints who moved in and worked through their doubt and stood up against the church of their day to bring fresh revelation and revival. There are no easy solutions.

Reading In Defence of Doubt is liberating. It gives you freedom to address the doubts and questions that you have about God, faith, and the church even as you discover that this is nothing new. Noted (notable?) Christians over the centuries have struggled over these same questions, and having them being downplayed, glossed over, or left unaddressed is a disservice to everyone.

My only concern (and a wavering one at that) is the last chapter on Interfaith Dialogue. In one sense, I agree with everything she says, but as a whole... I don't know. Maybe I'm not there yet. There are many things in the preceding chapters that, if I read this when I was younger, I would have utterly rejected. So maybe in the future I might end up agreeing with Webb's stance fully, or maybe I'll end up shelving it as one of the things that's not really important to me in the grand scheme of things.

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Wednesday 13 March 2024

Book Review: Say Hello to My Little Friend | Jennine CapĆ³ Crucet

Say Hello to My Little FriendSay Hello to My Little Friend by Jennine Capo Crucet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'd put this at about 3.5 stars, to balance out personal enjoyment and more writing/research needs.

Right. So I picked this up from Edelweiss because I've been looking at ways different people write about their own experiences and places in fiction. Call it semi-research. The description sounded interesting enough, so why not?

Personally, I kind of got a little bored midway through because Izzy is dumb (Though, if he isn't, where's the story?) and Lolita... well, the orca never gets anywhere. It meanders a lot in a way that doesn't really interest me; it's not a plot or type of book I'd normally be raring to read. The ending was weird (what's with the letter? lol), but what caught me was the bit before the end. The resolution for Izzy's search for his past, the repressed memories, the way it all unfolds. Also, it's very magical realism in the sense that you never quite know what's real or not at some places.

But as a study in voice and in not pandering to monolithic, imagined white reader, I love it. I may not understand all the Spanish (?) that punctuates the narrative and the dialogue, but it holds the attention, it captures me, it makes me want to know more. Though I'll do without the iguanas and alligators.

In conclusion, if you're Cuban-American this might resonate with you more. Or, I guess, if you live in Miami.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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