Monday, March 29, 2010

Cramming it down your throat

Sometimes I read a book, and that book makes my skin crawl with its (how should I put this?) message. Its blatant self-importance is like ice water to the face. Sometimes this type of book is full of anti-religious material, but sometimes it's over-the-top church. In either case I usually CAN'T finish it.

Not that there is anything wrong with church and writing it into stories (after all, spirituality can be a huge part of a person's life), but turning something I believe in into sappy, corny smash-the-wedding-cake-in-your-face with the preaching/judging/narrow world view just gets me all riled up. Yes you may be happier if you marry someone with common beliefs, but to insinuate that anyone who doesn't subscribe to your religion will make you unhappy or will doom you to a life of heartache? That anyone who looks different than a straight-laced, high-collared church goer is EVIL? That I have a hard time with. Or maybe it's just the generalizing and throwing everyone in the same category that gets me.

I just read a train-wreck of such a book, but I couldn't look away. I had to know just how much worse it was going to get. And worser it really got. It is exactly the sort of book that sets young girls up to think Twilight is great literature (not that Twilight doesn't have its place, but still).

Is it possible for an author to write religion into a story without it becoming a battering ram and its own in-your-face character? I want to know have YOU read a book where it's obvious (okay, besides Les Mis) that God is a big part of a main character's life without feeling like the author was giving you a song and dance routine? Maybe I just appreciate a little more subtlety.

10 comments:

The Boob Nazi said...

That's why I can't read Christian novels.

Kristina P. said...

I'm with Boob Nazi. I can't remember the last time I read an LDS fiction book.

Kimberly said...

I so know what you mean.

I read a lot of LDS fiction now (many of my friends are LDS authors) and I'd say it's improved vastly over the years. Still, at times a touch more subtlety would be nice...

M-Cat said...

I just can't read LDS fiction. The only LDS fiction I read is my SIL's. I don't know if it comes across as in your face or not, since I see her books from a different perspective. But for the record - I HATE CHEESY crap like that!

emilyf said...

I've recently written a couple short stories that have mention of LDS beliefs in them...I wonder what you'd think of them. It's mainly practice, but I don't think there's an overkill in the stories. I as well don't like preachiness, in those simulating life, in novels selling a brilliant conversion idea. I hope that shows in my writing. I don't know why the latest two have come out with LDS touches, but oh well. Ideas just come. But they should never be forced! :)

http://2010shortstories.blogspot.com/ if you're interested

Elizabeth-W said...

The last LDS book I read (fiction-wise) was a book about women who become friends at Women's Conference. It was painful.
Haven't read any since.
Frankly, I don't mind if you throw ice water on my face, just do it with intelligence, wit, without sap, etc.

Kim N said...

I am curious what book you read. :)

I enjoy some LDS novels, but they can't be preachy or unrealistic. And I can't read them often. I tire easily of the genre.

Mrs. Organic said...

Kim - if you check my goodreads list, you might figure it out. :)

Omgirl said...

Yes, I've read lots of books where religion and God have a place in the book w/o it being preachy. Usually it takes place as the main character struggles with their own beliefs and then in the end comes to peace with them. I find when the author allows the reader to draw their own conclusions, the message comes off well. When they shove it down your throat with stereotypes and over-dramatized archetypes of good and evil, it comes off arrogant and ingenuine.

Millie said...

This is so comforting to read. I was starting to think I was a real heathen for not liking those books.