Abomination & Barbie Dolls

Sherri Early of Semicolon wrote recently on her blog about the need for light and darkness in novels, particularly as this pertains to Christian literature: how dark is “too dark”?  Can Christian books make mention of occult things, sinful things, dark things while still edifying?

While I love Amish/plain living romances, sometimes I feel like something more…meaty, if you will, but I haven’t had much luck finding Christian fiction that isn’t clunky, one-dimensional, or underdeveloped (my budget has me strapped to the library, so that may be part of my problem).

So I approached Abomination by Colleen Coble with some trepidation; I haven’t read a thriller in quite some time and never one labeled as Christian.  I worried I might have found a clunker.

I was wrong.

Abomination opens with a woman who has been attacked and stabbed but cannot remember how it happened, where she is, who she is, or why the little girl in the back seat calls her mama.  From other characters’ POVs, we learn that the amnesia-ridden woman is being hunted by a serial killer, plus her worried ex-husband (who happens to be the police officer investigating the serial killer).

Twists and turns abound, and I gasped when I learned who the killer was…not who I was expecting, which is always a nice surprise.

{There were a few unfortunate bits, mostly editing: the main character’s true identity is given away too soon because of a typo, sentences that don’t work, wonky speech patterns, repetitive word choice…but that might be the OCD editor in me.}

The balance of light and dark was quite good; perfect, actually for a dreamer like me.  When I was younger, I got so wrapped up in The Face on the Milk Carton that I worried I might have been stolen from my real parents, even though I look just like my mother, I talk just like my mother, I act just like my mother, and I probably even chew gum just like my mother.  So, I have a history of allowing the story to take me in too much.

But that didn’t happen this time around; I had a moment in the dark of my home where I thought of Gideon, the serial killer in Abomination, but then my thoughts turned to Christ.  It was like he said, “Hey, that’s just a story…aren’t I bigger than a story?”  And He is.

So maybe I’ve grown up or maybe Colleen Coble hit the right balance of dark and light; I’ll let you read it and decide.

Also, I devoured a book a few weeks ago called Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein.  I wish I had it in front of me so that I could talk about it better, but if you have a young daughter, it’s worth the read.  It’s also worth asking the questions the book raises, like how does princess play affect our daughters?  Is Snow White really a good role model if her single greatest quality is her looks–I mean, what else does the girl do?

Orenstein looks at girlhood critically with all sorts of facts and statistics, but she also approaches the subject from a mom’s perspective, thinking of and writing about her own little girl.  At times the book is terrifying, as I don’t want to think of Pookie being marketed to constantly with pink or pressured to look “hot” when she reaches third grade or spend her teen years confused by the world’s message that she should looking desirable is good but feeling desire is bad.

The book is secular, so Orenstein and I disagreed on certain things (sex before marriage as an example), but it was a fascinating look into the marketing machine and the new world of girl in today’s society.  Again, a must-read for parents of young girls.

Well, could those titles have been any more different?!

I also found myself relating to a lot of Orenstein’s theses, thinking, “That’s exactly what happened to me…that’s how I felt/thought/acted.”

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5 responses to “Abomination & Barbie Dolls

  1. Becky June 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Fine line with the “princess” thing….I would remind my daughters that they were princesses, as in a “Daughter of the King,” and what that entails. With the world beating them down, (lots of personal hurt and pain from rejection and then the messages the media are constantly bombarding them with)…. I did that to remind them of their worth and build their self-esteem ~ without being self-absorbed and self-centered.

    The Princess theme that is being extoled in the secular world, I feel tends to perpetuate the myth that their lives can be the fairy tale of “you can have it all” and “life is just a bowl of cherries.” It also engrains upon them that
    “the world revolves around them” and they deserve “the best of everything” ~ which really teaches young girls to grow into narcissistic, unrealistic women.

    Princess Mama, beware.

    • thismomreads June 23, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      Becky, I think you handled the princess topic with your girls beautifully, because you were in the driver’s seat and you shaped the message. I think teaching girls that they are princesses because they are Daughters of the King allows them to explore princess-“hood” while (hopefully) avoiding a lot of the negative aspects that can be associated with princess play. Thanks so much for your input; I’ll have to file that away for when Pookie is older! :D

  2. Becky June 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks for your endorsement of my comment. Humbly, I must say….my daughters are very thoughtful, kind and generous ~ totally committed to the Lord. So, by God’s grace, that concept worked for me…..and will for you and little Miss Pookie.

    Blessings to you and your family, dear one.

    L., B.

  3. Brandy S. Brow July 9, 2011 at 1:31 am

    We own most of the Barbie movies and have watched them numerous times, but after this last movie, we won’t buy anymore. Something’s changed in management: animation is cheap with choppy movement, the character faces are different with wider eyes and rounder faces, not at all like Barbie doll faces, and worst, the characters act like brats. Barbie isn’t Barbie at all. Neither is Ken. They act childish.

    Barbie starts a fight with a co-star after the co-star rips her dress, and Ken runs in anticipation to watch–disgusting. The Barbie girls have grown to know and love would never have picked a fight. She’s wiser than that. And Ken would never have delighted in it. I hate that the storyline all revolves around guys, which is completely inappropriate for this target audience, and that the source of all the movie’s problems is jealousy. Even in the end, the fairy princess, who by title should be a role model and therefore wise, acts like a brat, wanting to keep her former friends imprisoned for abandoning her friendship.

    Come on! This whole movie is shallow and a bad influence on young girls. It isn’t even beneficial for teens, if they were to watch it. I had worried about a downward trend after A Fashion Fairytale’s huge focus on glamour. Now I see I had good reason to worry. I wish I hadn’t bought this worthless movie.

    From now on we’re switching to the new Strawberry Shortcake. She’s still nice, sweet, wise, and the stories have great problem-solving that has nothing to do with boy-girl relationships. At least one movie-doll star is still a good influence.

    • MK @ thismomreads July 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Wow, Brandy, that’s awful! So sorry for your unfortunate experience. More and more I think as Pookie gets older we’ll stick to PBS; it would be a really bad day if even that became shallow and worthless. Hope Strawberry Shortcake works out for you!

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