Sunday, August 14, 2011

Naomi and Her Daughters

Well, this was an interesting one, to be sure.

I got Naomi and Her Daughters by Walter Wangerin, Jr., for free from Amazon for my Kindle. I've read some of Wangerin's books in the past. I still use his book on marriage in my premarital counseling sessions. So I was a bit curious to see what he would do with a beloved Bible story.

The title is pretty self-explanatory. This is a novelization of the book of Ruth. If you know the story, you know the plot of this book for the most part. But Wangerin takes some rather unique liberties with the story, marrying the book of Ruth with the ending of Judges (yes, that ending. The one with the Levite's concubine). He fleshes out the characters in some rather interesting ways too. Boaz starts out life as a petulant teenager with some pretty severe issues and Naomi winds up extremely bitter toward the end.

I think I enjoyed this book, for the most part. Wangerin has a poetic lilt to his writing that seemed to suit the material fairly well. I think any potential readers should be aware that this book is pretty salty for Christian fiction. There's some vulgarities tossed around. And one scene, involving Rachel and Leah, boggles the mind. I seriously do not understand what the point of it was and I'm still struggling to wrap my mind around it.

And Wangerin does take some rather interesting liberties with characters and situations, such as including the destruction of Gibeah in the story of Ruth. At first, I had a hard time wrapping my mind around that, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was kind of within the realm of possibility.

I don't know. You can check it out for yourself. It's a fast read, to be sure, and there are some interesting theological thoughts to consider at the end. Just don't expect a clean-and-polished story.

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