Never the Bride
by C. McKay and R. Gutteridge
BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT: this entire review is full of SPOILERS. Read only if you want the book to be spoiled or if you have already read it. If you missed it, part 1 of this review is spoiler-free.
I wanted a story where a woman learned to be content in God, and ended up not being married, because honestly romance and marriage is emphasized entirely too much in the Christian community. I ordered this story with the express hope that it would not be a temporal romance, but an everlasting spiritual romance with God. The book synopsis asks “Can she turn over her pen and trust someone [God] to craft a love story beyond her wildest dreams?” and for a brief moment in the book it seemed the love story would indeed be with God, but then she got married to some random guy God had been trying to set her up with the entire story!
Which leads to complaint #2: “the one.” The story gives the impression that there is one person out there God has created specifically for you if you are simply willing to allow Him to lead your life. The problem I take with this spiritual fool’s gold is that romantic people will use it as an excuse to marry some lame wad they have no business being in a relationship with, or they will be on an eternal quest for the Holy Grail of Perfect Spouse. It is also used as an excuse by “Christians” to divorce the person they are currently married to, because “s/he wasn’t The One God intended for me to marry.” Then there is also the fact that it makes it seem like there is something wrong with those singles who have been so for decades, trying to find someone worth marrying. I have heard the complaints of some Godly singles who say they are sick of people telling them “Get right with God, and He will send you The One.” God can send you a spouse whether you are holy or not. He doesn’t need you to be holy and perfect in order for Him, an All-Powerful Being, to do whatever He pleases.
Romance stories are all well and good when people know they are fiction and people know there is no deeper spiritual meaning to it, but when a spiritual lesson is added to a story, more care should be taken to make sure unfounded and harmful clichés aren’t propagated.
(By the way, this explains the complaint I had about God being an author of confusion in part 1 of this review. God is trying to set Jessie up with some random dude, and so when He made Himself corporal, He took on the appearance of the dude He is trying to set Jessie up with. As a result, when Jessie sees the dude, she thinks it is God, and reacts to him as such. It creates confusion that an omniscient God would obviously have known would ensue. It is chaotic, and not something God would do.)
Ultimately, the lessons Jessie learned were sound ones, to a point. God does make a point of telling Jessie her marriage won’t be perfect and that He is only sharing her with her new husband (which, if one spends too much time dwelling on God “sharing” us, it can actually create a headache). The manner in which she learned the lessons was highly questionable, and not very scriptural. If McKay and Gutteridge are as good of story-writers as I suppose they might be, I imagine they could have just as easily created a scripturally sound story without sacrificing the truth of who God is.
I was left with the sense that Jessie’s character was a bit stupid, but she wasn’t a devote follower of Christ (hadn’t been to church in 14 years, and didn’t spend much time studying her Bible to glean a better understanding of God), so I suppose stupid can be labeled as ignorant.
*I acquired this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers*