What I'm writing here can't really be considered a "review". I don't think I'm objectively qualified to submit a review. Hillary has become a valued friend, was instrumental in helping me start this blog, and as those of you who know my story may suspect, the subject of her writing in this book is extremely personal to me. If this were a review, I'd be giving the book 10 stars out of 5. Instead, what I'd like to do is offer some thoughts on the book, and some brief thoughts on the opposition that has arisen to it.
First of all, the emotion in the book is powerful. I alternated at times between recoiling, celebrating, absolute anger, and broken heart - but not once did the writing engender apathy. This book has real life in it, real life that's sometimes painful and ugly, but no less real because of the pain and ugliness. Yes, this IS a factual look at the way some people have had to live and still live. Here in America, no less. Not in a third world, Islamic nation. In America, and under the banner of Christianity. It isn't a small slice of a certain demographic, either, but rather a common fruit of the movements discussed. You can't read this book with a genuine desire to seek truth and not be moved by it. If you can, I pity you.
Parts of it were somewhat difficult for me (on a merely personal level), primarily the entries from her own journals that Hillary included to demonstrate the turmoil in her heart. Those entries could've almost been replaced, word for word, with some of the entries in my ex-fiancee's journal. I wish I'd had the understanding of the issues then that I do now. Through the writing of women like Hillary, much of my own confusion about the heart turmoil associated with these movements has cleared. While it leaves me feeling somewhat powerless to help, it does empower me to pray specific prayers, and encourages me to use my own voice in whatever manner God allows. It couldn't have been easy for Hillary to publish these private journal entries. My ex-fiancee presented me with her journal as a Christmas gift, wanting me to read it to come to know her heart more thoroughly. While she wasn't at the place in her journey, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually, that Hillary and other QDs are, she confessed to me the fear she had that I'd reject her. With that in mind, I applaud Hillary (and the other QDs who contributed their stories to the book) for making herself so vulnerable. It was and is immeasurably courageous, and there's no estimate possible as to how many women (and men) will benefit from the experiences shared with the inclusion of these intimate and personal writings.
The epilogue, "Luna of the Sorrows", was especially moving - and beautifully written. The Lord is the master of taking that which is broken and restoring it, and doing so with powerful purpose. In fact, He vigorously and specifically seeks that which is broken, to bind up the wounds, mend the damages, mend the heart, and replace the heavy weight that brought about such things with an easy yoke and a light burden. This section tells a beautiful story.
This isn't a book of theology and isn't intended to be, although an ample amount of scripture is presented in the book and frequently used as a measuring stick. This is a book of real-time heart happening at the speed of life within the patriarchal movement. The scriptural positions taken in the book are sound and solid from my perspective, and attempt, successfully, to demonstrate the heart of God on these issues. God isn't an ominous, mean-spirited elementary school principle just hoping and waiting to give His children a paddling, continually disappointed in our behavior, and continually wearing look of consternation toward us. He's an overwhelmingly loving, overwhelmingly forgiving God who is less worried about what you do and how you perform and more worried about loving you in spite of all the rest. Hillary presents Him as such very clearly.
Kudos and genuine thanks to those who contributed to the book. It was all beautifully done. It's an effort that can consume the heart of the reader in a wonderful way, and I firmly believe it offers both hope and healing to QDs, pointing to Christ from start to finish.
My only "complaint"? That this book wasn't around a couple of years ago, or even better, since the beginning of these movements. I'm very thankful, however, that it's here now. I've no doubt that it's ministering to an enormous need in the body of Christ. My heartfelt thanks to Hillary for taking up the difficult task of going toe to toe with these issues, and I consider it an honor to stand alongside of her, and those like her, in the battle.
Again, if this were a review, this book would get 10 stars out of 5.
Now, to the opposition...
The less than glowing reviews and depictions of this book have all come with their own solution..."IF" these stories of abuse are real (because, miraculously, these folk have never witnessed any such thing), and not just the product of rebellious hearts, QDs should take their issues before proper church authority. So, they suggest fixing authority gone amuck with more authority. For those offering this course of action as the solution, what would be the result of this process in the churches YOU preside over? I don't really think I need to say more, because, upon pondering that question, it's difficult enough for me to keep a straight face.
To my readers here...
If you haven't read this book, I can't recommend it passionately enough. Not just for QDs, either. Everyone would benefit from what this book offers, even if just to be better educated on the subjects it covers.
For those interested in reading an excerpt, you can read the first chapter HERE.
For those interested in purchasing the book, please visit HERE.
And please visit Hillary's blog, www.quiveringdaughters.com, for more great articles and resources.