Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I've just finished reading a book.  Actually, I didn't finish it.  I read half then skimmed to the end.  I hated the book.  It dealt with evil, assassins in the old west, who took life as casually as they drank water.   They were guns for hire, but they didn't confine their killing to the job.  If someone offended them, they killed him.  If someone wouldn't sell or give away an item they wanted, they killed him.  The pages of the book were laced with death and blood and gore.   Interpolated into the main story was  a chapter about a young girl poisoning a dog.  Just in case the reader didn't find enough violence in the main story.

The book wasn't my choice.  It was placed on the reading list by my book club, largely because reviewers were unanimous in their praise, extolling the author for taking us into the minds and hearts of these two men, complimenting him on the choice of language and the "humour" as the two brothers argued about who was the lead man.    No one seemed to mind that the book presented evil as an acceptable life-style.  No one seemed to mind that the author dehumanized the killers' victims.  No one seemed to mind that they lacked any ethical compass, not even honour among thieves.  Is our culture so desensitized to wickedness that we can treat these killers as worthy fictional material?  One reviewer even recommended the book for children over twelve.

I know that evil exists, in fact, it abounds in our world.  We must confront it, battle it and not cringe away.  But surely we are not required to celebrate evil, to present it from a sympathetic point of view and to wallow in the blood of misdeeds.   On the road to Damascus, Paul is adjured become an apostle,  "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, ..."Acts 26:18 

As writers, we should use the power of words to turn men from darkness, not toward it.

I write romances, a genre systematically scorned by the literati.  Our books are considered facile, formulaic and escapist.  Yet these books celebrate the good things of life.  They celebrate love and commitment.  They celebrate families.  They celebrate honesty and self-sacrifice.  They celebrate the triumph of love over despair.  They celebrate light over darkness.
 Regardless of what the literary classes think of my genre, I'll take romance over evil any time.
Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these thingsPhil.4:8

My book club will take me to task for not appreciating this wonderful "literature" but I maintain that it is not lovely.  Therefore, I will not think on it.

Alice lives on beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, where she admires the loveliness of God's creation and prays to resist evil every day.


  1. Love this quote: As writers, we should use the power of words to turn men from darkness, not toward it.

    I write romantic suspense and touch on things of the darkness, but always with the desire to show justice winning and yes, turn people toward the light.

  2. Thanks, Lisa. I know the psych-gurus insist that violence in the entertainment industry does not beget violence on the street, but when we read about so many copy-cat crimes, I have to wonder. And then there's the whole advertising thing. If media doesn't influence behaviour, why do advertisers spend millions showing us their stuff?
    Let's hear it for real heros, the guys in the white hats who choose honour and loyalty and good manners over a quick buck.

  3. Sorry you had to read something so awful. that's the problem with book clubs and what is often considered 'literature.' I do think people are desensitised by what they see and read. How much better as you say Alice to concentrate on what is good and lovely.