Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Review: "Wounded" by Claudia Mair Burney

Poor in health but rich in faith, Gina Merritt--a young, broke, African-American single mother--sits ina pew on Ash Wednesday and has a holy vision. When it fades, her palms are bleeding. Anthony Priest, the junkie sitting beside her, instinctively touches her when she cries out, but Gina flees in shock and pain.

A prize-winning journalist before drugs destroyed his career, Anthony is flooded with a sense of well-being and knows that he is cured of his addiction. Without understanding why, Anthony follows Gina home to find some answers.

This book was discussed during the Faith and Fiction Round table a few weeks ago. My review was written BEFORE the discussions took place and therefore may or may not coincide with the responses from the round table.

Stigmata scares me. Well anything with blood pouring unnaturally out of orifices from your body will make me gag. Put that together with faith revelation that will shake your beliefs and you got one heck out of a story. That's exactly what Wounded contains and boy does it make your head spin while reading (and not in a Exorcist type of way). The characters in the book, to be honest, are not very likable. It's hard to connect with any of them because you're not quite sure really what to think. Everyone has a past that is suspect and then when faced with problems they find it hard to confide and rely on each other.

While I enjoyed the book I did have a bit of a difficult time reading it. It's not a book for everyone. There were times during the book where I felt that those who aren't of the Catholic church seem to be portraying less faith than those who do. I didn't feel offended by this but there were instances where I did feel a bit like my own faith/church wasn't good enough. I was uncomfortable with the full use of the n-word being used in the book. I understand what the author was trying to say by using the word. It is an ugly word and the way it was use in the book was with the intention to hurt and insult. However, I think the same effect could have been done without writing out the entire word. I like edgy Christian fiction but at the same time, I don't like seeing that word in a Christian fiction book. I was also a bit uncomfortable with the sexual connotations involving the analogy as Jesus as the bridegroom.

If I was in the situation witnessing what was going on to Gina, to be honest I have no idea what I would think. We live in a world where we are skeptical of everything. History has shown us that religion and mental illness seem to combine together with disastrous results. If I had met Gina for the first time with only the barest of details of her past, I probably would be very skeptical of what was happening to her. This in no way says that my faith is not strong or I question my beliefs. I'm just saying that's probably what be my first thoughts.

This book is NOT for everyone. Those who come into this book thinking it's a love story based on the subtitle are going to be in for a big surprise. Well, it is a love story but definitely not your typical one. Burney's books always make me think. They are incredible books and this one really does stand out and make you ponder after finishing it. If you're in the mood for a different read, this is a book for you. Whatever preconceptions or thoughts you had about Christian fiction before, put it aside and read this book. While it may not change your mind, it will definitely make you think.

Wounded by Claudia Mair Burney is published by David C. Cook (2008)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


  1. Great review. This book will make you think -- that's for sure.

  2. What other books by her have you read?

  3. The blood made me really squeamish, too!

    Interesting observation about the Catholic intepretation of faith seeming superior. she's a later in life convert, so she probably thinks it is. :)

  4. @wordlily I've read all three books in her Amanda Bell Brown series (edgy chick lit mysteries) and Zora and Nicky (about interracial relationships). haven't read her mainstream YA book yet


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