Faith 'n Fiction Saturday
My Friend Amy, who brought us Book Blogger Appreciation Week has a new carnival in the works, the Faith 'n Fiction Saturday.
Each week she will post a blogging prompt, which participating bloggers will answer on their own blogs. Then they head back to the original post and sign Mister Linky! This way we can all come to know each other more closely.
I love Christian fiction. Lately I've been realizing my favorite kind of book is a book that deals with faith in all of its reality..doubt, wonder, joy, and pain. Unfortunately, I find these books are too few and far between. Even with so much fantastic Christian fiction, the books that dig into the deepest parts of faith seem hard to come by.
I was reading a review on a general review blog of a Christian fiction title. The reviewer was frustrated by the ease with which complicated situations were resolved. It reminded me of several reviews of another title I love that is Christian fiction that had an ambiguous ending. Many people were frustrated and I read some reviewers say they just wanted a happy ending.
Which brings me to today's question...is Christian fiction too often characterized by escapism? And if it is..do you think it's truly healthy for Christians to constantly take in messages of faith that are light or too easily resolved? Is it okay to have a less than happy ending in a Christian fiction book?
I have noticed that recently it has become acceptable and almost the norm to NOT have neat tidy endings in Christian fiction. If you read books from the 90s and back, almost every Christian book had happy endings, everyone gets saved, marriages always patch up, etc. It was all very 1950s happy go lucky. I was never a big fan of this. One of the biggest uses of this would be two people had fallen in love when they were young. But alas they were married off to other people. Years would go by, one would have a good marriage, the other a bad marriage. They build up new lives but there's still a place in the heart for that other person. Eventually they are reunited. Feelings ignite again, but no, they have become Christians and must abstain and stay with their spouses. But by the grace of God, both spouses die! They are now free to be with their true love! Gag all you want, but you don't know HOW MANY times I've read that story line. I mean I've even read books where there are abusive husbands who's wives stay with them because it's the Christian thing to do and eventually the husband either dies or becomes a Christian and is immediately forgiven.
I was reading a blog a few weeks ago that mentioned that Amish fiction is a form of escapism in Christian fiction and that it is more dangerous than vampire fiction. I agree with that view to an extent. I do think that many readers read Amish fiction because they view the simplistic lifestyle of the Amish as a better way than their modern, ultra busy, technology dependent life. The problem is that many authors have heavily romanticized the Amish lifestyle and embellished how they life. Also the true religious beliefs are rarely discussed in these books so if people are truly reading these books for the faith aspect, then they're not really getting it.
So anywho back to the question...I think it depends on what you're reading in regards to escapism. There's plenty of Christian fiction that does have happy endings and takes you away from reality. Be it fantasy, romance, historical fiction, chick lit or contemporary. At the same time there's also plenty of Christian fiction that shows gritty, realistic, painful views of life and don't shy away from telling the truth. And yes it IS ok to not have a happy ending, and to have not all loose ends tied up. If you want an happy ending, look for a happy book. Let's face it, even the Bible didn't have all stories have happy endings.