Monday, March 1, 2010

Review: Wounded - A Love Story

Summary: If a miracle happened to you, wouldn't you tell everyone? What if they thought you were crazy?

Poor in health but rich in faith, Gina Merritt—a young, broke, African-American single mother—sits in a pew on Ash Wednesday and has a holy vision. When it fades, her palms are bleeding. Anthony Priest, the junkie sitting beside her, instinctively touches her when she cries out, but Gina flees in shock and pain. A prize-winning journalist before drugs destroyed his career, Anthony is flooded with a sense of well-being and knows he is cured of his addiction. Without understanding why, Anthony follows Gina home to find some answers. Together they search for an answer to this miraculous event and along the way they cross paths with a skeptical evangelical pastor, a gentle Catholic priest, a certifiable religious zealot, and an oversized transvestite drug dealer, all of whom lend their opinion. It's a quest for truth, sanity, and grace and an unexpected love story. -- David C. Cook

I'm am going to be completely honest when I say that I never would have picked up WOUNDED by Claudia Mair Burney if it weren't for My Friend Amy. I rarely read Christian fiction (although I want to read more of it), but Amy asked me to participate in the first Faith 'n' Fiction Round Table to discuss WOUNDED. Of course, I wanted to participate!

When I first started WOUNDED, I thought it was going to be a love story since that is what the subtitle of the book says. I have read a few Christian fiction romances and liked them, but most had elements of historical fiction as well. WOUNDED takes place in present day, and it definitely wasn't a traditional love story. This book was very different from what I was expecting (I mean that in a good way, though.) For me, this book was a love story -- it just was more about a love/relationship with Christ than between a man and a woman.

Gina is a young black woman who is also the mother of a young daughter. During an Ash Wednesday service, she has a holy vision and sees that her palm is bleeding. Since Gina also suffers from some mental physical and mental illnesses, others (including her pastor) question her "miracle." As Gina begins to experience more physical pain and other outward signs of Christ's crucifixion, she finds that the reporter who witnessed her first vision drops everything to support her and her daughter.

I didn't always love parts of this book. Some of it was rough for me and I didn't always "get" the writing style or the characters. Having said that though, I am so very, very glad that I read this book. Unlike some of the other Christian fiction that I have read (and enjoyed very much), this book wasn't just a feel good book for me -- it made me think A LOT! I actually loved that about WOUNDED. This novel challenged me about my faith and beliefs (and especially miracles), and it really made me re-think the entire concept of suffering and what that means about a relationship with God.

I found the last section of the book to be especially helpful to me. It is called After Words and it includes some thought-provoking discussion questions as well as an author essay(and about Mary Rose Masters, a stigmatic-mystic. Mary Rose had many coincidences to the character in WOUNDED, and I found her story (and the connection to the author) to be absolutely fascinating. It sometimes goes to show that truth is stranger than fiction!

I am so glad that I was able to participate in the round table discussion because it was interesting to hear everyone else's input and thoughts on the book. There was some amazing discussion which caused me to think even more -- gotta love that! If you'd like to read more specifics about the round table discussion, you can start here.

I'm not sure that WOUNDED is for everyone, but I recommend in nonetheless. I think it you want a book that will make you look into your heart and really question yourself and your faith, then this might be the one for you. I also think it would make a wonderful pick for any Christian fiction book clubs out there.

Thanks to Amy for asking me to participate in the Faith 'n' Fiction Round Table Discussion. I thoroughly enjoyed the back and forth discussion as well as seeing others' point of view. I was a little bit nervous about participating since I don't read much Christian fiction, and I was very afraid to share my heartfelt feelings with others. But I really feel that I benefited from this experience. I hope I'm invited back!


Amy @ My Friend Amy said...

Of course you are! I loved how thought provoking this book was as well.

Pam said...

Love this book and the author. I interviewed her!

Meg said...

I don't think I've ever read a work of Christian fiction (though I certainly have nothing against it), and the premise of this definitely intrigues me! Books that make me dig deep and question myself and my beliefs can be some of the best... and also the most unsettling. Great review!

wordlily said...

Definitely thought-provoking (and discussion-feeding, too)! One of the best kinds of book, I think (ha!).

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Very good review, although I think it wouldn't be for me!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I'm glad that YOUR story had a happy ending - that you stretched outside your reading comfort zone and that you enjoyed the book.

It does sound well-done, and that WOUNDED really made you think!

Julie said...

I think you should pick up Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant. I think you'd like it.

bermudaonion said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this one, but I don't think it's for me. Great review, as always!