I was disappointed that I found her book teetering on the line of "fluffy" Christian literature. I grew sort of tired of "the Lord" this and "the Lord" that, and of her referring to me as Friend, and by the fifth chapter, I was so over the life events/spiritual connection stories. Why can't an ensnared sea turtle just be an ensnared sea turtle? Why does everything have to be a sign from God? Sometimes I felt like I was reading something that was written for an emotional teenager. But maybe that's just me. I like sarcasm mixed in with raw, painful honesty.
I admit, I am hard to please when it comes to books. It is rare that I pick something up and devour it, love it. It was difficult for me to receive the full message of the book without thinking, someone please remind the woman that not every word has to be italicized and not every sentence needs an exclamation point to pack a punch! Meeder's writing style is that of a cake baked with one too many cups of sugar. Take this excerpt, for example:
Together we were immediately embraced by the cooling rush of fluid weightlessness. Swimming in suspended silence, with every stroke we drew deeper into a world beset with more color than the human eye can fully grasp. In the shallows we were hailed by a virtual rainbow of aquatic life. We streamed by schooled of brilliant yellow tangs partially mixed with black-and-white sergeantfish. Nearly every nook featured finned bits of darting confetti. Each grotto staged a lively vignette of life under the sea.Okay, I feel like because this is a Christian book, I need to be nice. Don't get me wrong -- Meeder is certainly a compassionate, positive person, and I know she has come from a dark place and found genuine joy in Christ, and I think that is awesome. I enjoyed her personality through the book, even if I could not connect with it. She has a beautiful, gut-wrenching story to tell, but I don't think this book was as good as it could have been. Perhaps if her story had taken a more auto-biography route (akin to Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz; but I'm a sucker for Donald Miller), I would have found it more inspiring. But I'm partial to auto-biographies.
My own personal taste aside, the book was not exactly what I thought it was going to be. I envisioned a book about learning to love who you are, becoming a strong, independent woman who puts God first and realizes how much more important living a Christ-centered life is than being obsessed with conforming to our society's view of what makes a perfect, beautiful woman. Okay, maybe I should not have judged the book by its title and tagline. This book was, to me, less about the journey to concentrating on inward beauty from being dissatisfied with ones physical beauty (something I believe every woman goes through at some point in life, an issue about which this book could have really spoken), than it was about escaping sin and trusting God. I didn't hate it, and I certainly didn't love it; it was okay. Writing style and content lead me to rate this book two stars out of five.