I have a confession to make.
I don’t like to read.
I’m not making this up. I only like to read until I get the point and, oftentimes, that’s way before the writer has finished making his or hers. In my opinion, most books are far too long. It doesn’t help that I’m easily distracted. So the fact that I don’t like to read is reason #1 that I don’t review or endorse a lot of books.
Reason #2 is another indictment on my character. Readers of our (Hungry Planet) books are used to us not pulling any punches. This might be fine for someone that reviews books for a living, but I’ve always felt authors that review other people’s books are something akin to cannibals. I really like the tradition of ex-presidents rarely or never criticizing sitting presidents; because they know how hard the job is.
Reason #3 is when Hayley or I endorse a book, people that know our books are probably expecting a book like ours. And our books are way different than everything else out there. Hear me: not better, different. Our style appeals to a particular demographic and mindset.
So here I sit, with three very strong reasons why we don’t review or recommend new releases, especially from people we would like to be friends with. But I’m about to do it anyway because for some reason I asked to review it.
Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault is written by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb. I met Justin last summer at Mars Hill in Seattle. Justin is an impressive dude (he’s younger than I am, so ‘dude’ works for me.) Super accomplished, seminary professor, on staff at Mars Hill, funny with a dry wit. All the things I wish I was. To read all the awesome and thoughtful reviews of this book, go to its Amazon page. This review will probably not feel as awesome, because I’m not as smart or as accomplished as many of the endorsers there. But maybe it’ll be just a different kind of awesome and still an endorsement.
First, this book has tons of content. Tons. The back matter alone contains a ten page scripture index, a seventeen page bibliography, and a 26 page 6 pt font notes section, thus creating a 52 page reference section in the back. The body text size isn’t much bigger, with only 1/2 inch margins all the way around, and no call outs to visually break things up or give variety. This all points to a seriously and meticulously written book. This is probably a result of Justin and Lindsey’s combined hats of professor, pastor, and mental health counselor.
**Here is the point that Mark Driscoll calls me stupid for playing video games and wanting pictures in my books.
Ok, so you’ve got a picture of the feel of the book and the gravitas behind it. Now let me say that the content of the body of the book is excellent. Scriptural, heavily researched, poignant stories (I would have liked more,) gospel-centered. But I kind of felt like this book was trying to be all of the following:
- 1. For pastors and counselors of people who have been abused
- 2. For friends and loved ones of people who have been abused
- 3. For people who have been abused
For audience #1, it was a bulls-eye. The only thing I would add here is maybe include counseling helps/questions for sessions after each chapter or maybe a downloadable resource. But I understand including these would only work if the book wasn’t for audiences #2 & #3.
For audience #2, I think the book hits the target for a well-educated layperson that isn’t intimidated by academic and theological writing. And that’s squarely in Crossway’s crosshairs as a publisher and even Acts 29 as a church network. But for the WalMart/Target Christian we tend to write books for, I think the book would be too intimidating a read.
For audience #3, I just don’t know, because I’m not one. My gut is “see item two.” This much I can say, it’s not written for a teen. And that’s OK. Because this book in the hands of a counselor, pastor, or well-read parent/adult would have a great effect on God’s healing help in that teen’s life. Sidenote- We actually have fights with our editors to leave out or hide footnotes and bibliographies, because we don’t want the teen to feel like they’re reading a textbook.
In closing, I heartily recommend this book for any adult that regularly or even occasionally counsels people who have been affected by sexual abuse. I have no doubt that this will be the go-to reference work for gospel-centered soul care in the area of sexual abuse.
We could never write this book. I thank God for Justin and Lindsey that they did. The body of Christ is a marvelous thing. So is Rid of My Disgrace.