Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pearl in the Sand - book review

I don't eat Twinkies. Don't get me wrong, I love sweets but I won't do the cheap snacks that could cost me my health. Likewise, whatever I take into myself -- be it a book, movie, music or a play -- needs to nourish me. If it doesn't make me better for having read it (and I'm not just talking better informed) I'm not going to partake. Charlotte Mason called it "twaddle" - I call it Twinkies. So I knew when my husband saw the cover I would be in for some teasing as men with smoldering eyes don't normally grace the reading material on my bedside table. Happily, Pearl in the Sand is no Twinkie.

Tessa Afshar brings to life a story of Rahab, the prostitute of Jericho, and Salmone, a leader of the tribe of Judah - the man she would marry to become one of only five women listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Called by the author "a marriage only God would conceive," the spiritual battles this couple faces mirror the physical battles Israel has seen. Rahab, born and raised in a city famed for its walls, has built up her own walls which house her fear of rejection, guilt and unrelenting shame. Salmone has lived his whole life without walls, yet is full of pride and seeks the approval of others. Ever the soldier, obedience may come easy to Salmone but surrender does not.

Oh, but this is so much more than a love story between two people with a lot of baggage between them. The true longing and passion of the characters we're introduced to is for the Lord and His heart is for them. While learning in such a living way regarding Israel's administrative structure, the logistics of the judgement of Aichor, the principles behind even the seemingly minute details of what the Lord required of Israel, and just what would be required of a Gentile to join the camp of Israel, I was once again overwhelmed by the absolute worth we have in the eyes of our Lord, by His utter forgiveness, by the peace only He can instill and by His use of man -- of each one of us -- in the carrying out His eternal purpose.

Pearl in the Sand is a historical fiction and as I began, I found it reassuring when the author pointed out, "The best way to study the Bible is not through a novel, but simply to read the original. This story can in no way replace the transformative power that the reader will encounter in the Scriptures." Even so, this is no Twinkie and you'll find a richness and depth within that will make you at home with this time in history.


Melissa said...

You make it sound just fantastic! Historical fiction is such a valuable tool!
Love your brilliant nourishment metaphors - well said, my friend!

Glad to see u back, sista!

p.s. please don't hate me for kind of enjoying an occasional real live twinkie! hehe!

joyfulmum said...

That book sounds really interesting!
I should keep my eye open for it:)
We have just been reading about Rahab in our bible study for our homeschool here!

Richele said...

Aw, I would never think less of anyone for enjoying an occasional Twinkie.

After twenty years of my own unfiltered living before knowing Jesus, Rahab's interal damage was more than vaguely familiar to me. I'm thankful that Tessa did not romanticize Rahab's past.

joyfulmum, I rarely post book reviews for CM moms but Pearl in the Sand meets all the requirements of a living book. We're reading Joshua this term for home school as well.

I learned a lot that I was able to share with my boys. For example, the tribe of Judah at the time of the Jordan crossing was twice the size of our small city! Thinking of just our city crossing the Jordan and camping in tents really brought our study to life.

Raggedy Princess said...

I love historical fiction! Thank you for posting this... I don't get the chance to read much anymore with my little ones around, but when I do, I want it to be a GOOD one! I'll be looking for this one.

Annie Kate said...

"Likewise, whatever I take into myself -- be it a book, movie, music or a play -- needs to nourish me. If it doesn't make me better for having read it (and I'm not just talking better informed) I'm not going to partake."

Yes, yes, yes! You've said that so well it should go into a book of quotations!

There's so much bookish junk food out there, and using 'twinkies' instead of 'twaddle' makes the whole concept so much more realistic.

Thank you.

Annie Kate

Renelle said...

Guess what I started reading, yep. See what happens when you do book reviews. I get totally sucked in. I haven't read historical fiction for a while and we're on school holidays so it's my treat for myself.

amy in peru said...

you almost entice me to read this... it sounds really tempting! a real thought provoker! maybe if I had a library or if I were to read it on loan... but I have to keep a pretty strict rule for myself, NO fiction free reads for mom, unless clearly on vacation (and even then, my list is always so long with other things to do/read...) but I will keep it in mind for a possible someday read! Now books I have to pre-read are not excluded, and so far because of necessity I am able to keep that under control, only keeping one or two chapters ahead.

I have issues with being able to put books down once I pick them up. and even if I do manage to stop reading, I can't seem to think of much else until I get through, so I become pretty much useless to everyone around here when reading fiction. I'm somewhat the same way with everything I read, but it's definitely more manageable with non-fiction... except of course when it comes to CM. I just can't seem to get enough of her either! ;)

My name is Amy Tuttle and I'm a reading addict.

Phew. I feel much better having gotten that off my chest ;)