Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book Review for Heather James' Unholy Hunger




Unholy Hunger is Heather James' first novel, and apparently the first in a series (it is labeled as The Lure of the Serpent Book 1). The storyline is intriguing. Parents lose daughter in a horrific murder, and both handle the ensuing grief in drastically different ways. The story focuses in on Evelyn Barrett, the woman who has just lost her little girl. Her once (seemingly) bright and (again seemingly) perfect world as a high-powered, successful attorney who married a hunk who climbs telephone poles for a living comes crashing down (or does the triggering event of the story simply pull the veil off of the life that Evelyn has been living?). While her husband withdraws into himself in grief, Evelyn feels that vengeance is the only way to demonstrate true love for her lost child, and she seeks it in ways that leave her on the brink of losing everything that she still has left in her life.

            The book moves along pretty well, and the storyline is somewhat believable. The author succeeds in shocking parents of small children into imaging the worst-case scenario involving their children. However, the book, especially as a work of Christian fiction, falls short in a lot of areas. From the very beginning, the reader is told that Eve is the cause of original sin (if she wasn't, the reference involving a female main character would fall flat). The problem is, Eve wasn't the cause of original sin. She did sin, but Adam, as the representative of the human race, is the one who plunged the human race into sin (see most of the book of Romans). 

Another weakness is the subject material. While this is open to interpretation, and some will disagree with me, I don't believe there is any truly sanctified way to write a novel about horrible abuse of a child. James handled it as well as it can be handled, but my question remains, "why did it have to be handled in the first place?" Also, the characters were in many cases caricaturized and somewhat unbelievable. 

Finally,  the theology that was the real groundwork driving the story line was questionable at best. At the end of the day, the moral seemed to be, "there are two teams in life. You need to put on the jersey of one of them. However, you can take the jersey off and sometimes be wearing one team's, other times the other team's, or no jersey at all, which puts you in the place of the man who had demons cast out but did not replace them with anything in scripture. 

Which leads to the final criticism of the work. I'm not sure if it was intended, but my feeling coming away from reading the book was that the author attributed much of the evil in the world to demonic forces, and while I believe completely in demons, I think our nasty sinful nature contributes just as much! 

Overall, I would give the book 2 out of 5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

2 comments:

  1. You have misinterpreted the book, not to mention represent a unique brand of your own theology, which I would suggest is not a popularly expressed biblical either a biblical opinion or truth. With that jersey issue, you either are or aren't; your middle ground philosophy concerns me on your understanding of Jesus' teachings. Would that be the place where He spits you out? Also, you may have a different version of the Bible than I am unaware of: In my version, Eve took the first bite. Analysis over.

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  2. Here is the response from my husband (he wrote this particular review)
    Thank you for your thoughts. I think you may have misunderstood (or we may just disagree) in two areas. What concerned me about the book with the "jersey" idea is that I saw the book taking a middling position, which I see as doctrinally questionable. You are either darkness or light, a Child of God or a Son of Belial, there is no rotating back and forth. You can be transformed once or not at all. I think you misunderstood my comments in that area. In the second area, of course, chronologically Eve ate of the fruit first, but if you look at a Biblical Theology of the fall, you will find that Adam is credited with plunging the human race into sin because he was deemed the representative during the testing in Genesis 3. If you look at Romans 5:12-21, sin is introduced into the world through one man, which the context makes clear is Adam, not Eve (see verse 14). Paul recounts this in a different way in I Cor. 15:20-34 in which Paul contrasts the first Adam with the second Adam (Christ). The first Adam brought death upon all men (v. 22), but the second Adam makes open a door to life. Adam stands as the head of the human race, and it was his sin, not the chronologically earlier sin of Eve that actually caused creation to come under the curse. I assure you, my theology is orthodox and based on a literal-grammatical-historical understanding of the text of scripture.

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