Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Heaven, A Novel

Heaven, a novelHeaven, a novel by Kimberly Cain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is expensive, the plot is so-so and predictable, the character development is fitting for a child's fairy tale (the good are very good and the bad are very bad), and there are numerous, long, and repetitive passages of dubious theology.  The language is terrible and the book contains explicit sexual scenes.  It is not available for Kindle. The book contains a music CD with 6 tracks on it which is OK, but obviously contributes to the cost.

So why five stars?  Simply because this book is the best book I have ever read on the spirituality of sex within a Christian framework. I wish I had wrote it, flaws and all.  The spirituality closely parallels my personal beliefs, although perhaps a bit more steeped in Christianity than I am.  Do not construe that to mean this is Christian literature, it is not. It is about a stripper who believes in the holiness of the body, the sacredness of sex, and the spiritual power of women. It is not a goody-goody book extolling the virtues of the Wednesday Night Women's Bible Study.  It is a very spiritual book trying to hitch a ride on a novel with some limited  success.  I won't be suggesting this title at my book club.

To whom would I recommend this book?  Only close friends that I know and trust are open minded enough to intelligently handle the theology. I can count them on one hand.  This book would piss off most of the Christians I know, "why did you recommend that blasphemous filth to me?"  And it would probably piss off most the atheists "Now you simpleton's are trying to take over sex with your fairy tales."  So not desiring to be burnt at the stake by some of my friends or thrown in the loony bin by the others, I respectfully recommend this book to no one. Unfortunately both those groups are people who would benefit from this book the most, but a closed mind is a terrible thing to engage.

Well most people who read this review are not my friends.  So as a generalization here are my recommendations.

If your religious beliefs have taught you that sex is sinful and you righteously agree with that notion...don't read this book. Pure blasphemy.

If your religious beliefs have taught you that sex is sinful and you suspect that you are being manipulated by the word of man, this book may just convince you that your suspicions are isn't sinful, the power mongers in your religion are afraid of it.  But be forewarned, this is rough sledding for the dainty and proper.

If you gave up on God because you didn't like people wearing clerical collars snooping around in your bedroom, you may find this book enlightening, again rough sledding for the dainty and proper.

If your personal belief is that sex is one of God's gifts to mankind, you will probably find this book a delightful review albeit perhaps a bit on the seedy side of things. The author is far more casual about casual sex than I am, and while I am certainly no stranger to the usage of the f-word, it is not a word that I use for the sacrament that my wife and I celebrate in our bed.

If you don't give a damn about sex in one fashion or another and are just looking for a good novel, well I think you will be disappointed.  As novels go, I would rate it 3 stars.  Too much damned pontificating on the spirituality of sex for a good novel.  Oh yes, lovely cover art, although I am not big on tattoos.

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  1. Fantastic review. It gives me enough to decide on my own whether I feel like wading through the theology or not, and whether or not it will be offensive. And you gave away NOTHING except the heroine is a stripper.

    (Ironic that this is your entry today. Not overwhelmingly so, just a little.) Lately, though, I have no patience with thick books that are repetitive. I had trouble with the Harry Potter books for that reason. They were in a hurry to get them to print, and they were at least one edit shy of done, to me.

    Anyway, I really simply wanted to tell you that I found this a truly helpful review.

  2. "I respectfully recommend this book to noone", I love that phrase. I wish I could say I would read this, but you saying that it is an expensive book to begin with makes my mind up for me.

    I usually buy books 2ndhand or as they say it now, "gently used". We have a Goodwill Store that sells hardbound books for 80cents and paperbacks for 45cents. That's all they carry at this particular Goodwill and we call it The Bookstore. You can't beat that! I'll keep an eye out for this one, but I doubt it would end up at Goodwill for a few years yet. You never get the latest novels until they're a few years old.

    Your review definitely makes me wonder if I would enjoy this book or not.

  3. Jeannette,

    It seems that authors are reproducing like rabbits, but editors are a dying breed. From what I have seen lately, a book is half done when the author submits to a publisher.

    Thanks for dropping by and your kind comments.

  4. Alicia,

    Don't hold your breath waiting for this one. It appears that the print run was fairly small.

    Eighty cents! Wow! That is a bargain even for a used book.

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. Sounds interesting. But until there's a Kindle edition that I can sample, I'll have to pass.

  6. Donna,

    Yes I would have loved this book in Kindle. The spiritual diatribes would benefit from having the search function plus I would liked to have been able to underline and take notes. I have never been one to mark up a printed book, if I did, I would be reluctant to loan it. Reading is remarkably private practice for me. There was much that I would have liked to add my own two cents, thus ensuring I could never lend it to anyone. Wow! Is this guy warped!

    Thanks for commenting.

  7. Will it be in the library? Would Mr. and Mrs. Carnegie read it? I still have a library card, and so do the folks in my Sort-of-Bible-Study group. Should I suggest it as our next book? Maybe not. Perhaps the Old Baguette is the only one old enough to be interested in the theology.

  8. Old Baguette
    This book is gritty enough to grind Andy's last name off the beams on the Hulton Bridge. Borrowing it from the library would be a good alternative, the book is pricey. Yeah this would be a real hit in the Sort of Bible Study group. May I suggest Song of Songs as a Biblical reference. This would probably dull the point on the Archbishop's pointy hat.

    There is no doubt in my mind Old Baguette that you would enjoy the theology in this book. But as for the Bible group, well maybe in 100 years!

  9. One thing I forgot to mention in my review is that the book is physically attractive and well bound. The hard bound cover has pleated texture. The chapters are generally short, and each page has the chapter's name at the top, something rarely seen in publishing any more. The pages are deckle edged (uneven cut). Here is what Amazon says about deckle edging:

    This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
    You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages.

    As usual, artistic endeavors such as this are lost on me. The edge looks like hell and I find it a pain in the ass to turn the page. You have to do so at the top or bottom. It seems to take me half the book before I remember to grab the page at the top or bottom.

    And then there is the cover art! In some of my other posts I referred to the naked ladies on the covers of the paperback books in the 50s. All you saw was their backs and the tops of the bums. Well I would have loved this one back then with that really cool snake!

  10. This review is actually copy and pasted from my review at Goodreads. Over at Goodreads, a reader commented that not all Christians should be categorized as ultra right, closed minded, and afraid of sex. You can read the comment and my reply here, message 10 & 11:

    While I did qualify my statement to most Christians that I know, this reader is absolutely correct I allowed my post to fault to a stereotypical generalization. Also my characterization of Christian literature is at fault as well. Indeed the Christian lit titles that I have read are syrupy goody-good but I read so few titles in the genre that I am not qualified to make blanket statements. I apologize for both of these claims. They are both generalizations that apply to only to the small segment defined by my experience.

  11. I love the picture on the jacket. When Forever Amber came out, it was considered quite racy. Someone described that "genre" as follows: There's a hussy on the jacket but no jacket on the hussy.