Last week in the Christian fiction book world there was a review of an upcoming book from a well known Christian fiction author that was given a rating of 1/2 a star due to language. There were other issues in the book (such as they couldn’t tell it was a Christian book at all) but that was the main focal point of the review. The reviewer summarized by saying that if this book had been marketed as a general market novel it would have gotten a higher rating but since it’s a Christian book, it was worth only 1/2 a star. There was a rather interested reaction to this review from members of the Christian fiction community. While there were those that agreed with the review, there were others (including authors and readers) who felt the review to be unjust and nitpicky.
What was most interesting to me was that in another Christian fiction book, I found a curse word used AS a curse word and NO ONE has said anything about it yet in all the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads that I’ve read through. That same reviewer in fact gave the book high stars! I don’t get it.
Let me start out by saying two things. One, I realize that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and that this publication has every right to uphold their own beliefs. The second is, I’m a Christian and I curse sometimes yet I feel that my relationship with God is on solid ground.
Cursing is not something I enjoy doing and I actually don’t do it a lot. There are certain words that I really don’t like using/seeing//hearing but it also comes with the intent behind the words. A word is really just a word. It’s all in what you mean behind it. A curse word stripped down is just a bunch of random letters lined up next to each other. It cannot hurt you until you take that word and throw it at someone in a derogatory way. That being said, any word can be used to harm someone. Chicken is word that most use to call an animal or a type of meat. Or it can be used as an insult. I mean even the word “girl” is used as an insult.
Going back to the review, personally I’m looking forward to reading this book. While I enjoy reading a lot of Christian fiction books, I also take issue to books that want to stay in the bubble. I understand that there is and always will be an audience that wants to separate themselves away from the rest of the world and I respect them for it. But at the same time, I also prefer reading books that don’t preach and is able to be enjoyed by ANYONE who picks it up. I have known for years that I’m not the target audience for most Christian fiction and that’s ok. I stated on another blog that I just like author’s who do share my beliefs and are able to tell a good story.
It just irks me when I see authors who do just that get harsh reviews from those that don’t see things that way. Again, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. It’s just funny that Christians want a label stating that it’s not “really” a Christian book, while those who aren’t of the same faith will want a label saying it’s a faith based book. While excessive cursing used as filler in any type of book is unacceptable because it’s sloppy and unimaginative, the opposite is just as bad too. Too many times have I read novels where it’s very obvious that the writer is trying to avoid using curse words but it comes across as looking completely unrealistic.
I guess the biggest thing for me is that I feel like it shouldn’t even be that big of an issue when there are so many other things that is lacking in that genre. (Diversity for one) I do feel like Christians spend too much time worrying about keeping things clean and trying to make everything safe.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.” – The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe