This is a first for me. I’ve been reviewing books for years, and this is the first book that I just couldn’t make myself finish. When reading for pleasure, I typically will jettison a book that doesn’t suck me in within the first few chapters. I gave No Ocean Too Wide a serious try. I read over half of the book! I just couldn’t force myself to go any further. I tried. I really tried.
No Ocean Too Wide was the sort of book I usually love: historical fiction. Set at the turn of the century, it chronicles the story of four siblings, three of which found themselves as “British Home Children”.
Between 1869 and the late 1930s, over 100,000 juvenile migrants were sent to Canada from the British Isles during the child emigration movement. Motivated by social and economic forces, churches and philanthropic organizations sent orphaned, abandoned and pauper children to Canada. Many believed that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural Canada, where families welcomed them as a source of cheap farm labour and domestic help.
After arriving by ship, the children were sent to distributing and receiving homes, such as Fairknowe in Brockville, and then sent on to farmers in the area. Although many of the children were poorly treated and abused, others experienced a better life here than if they had remained in the urban slums of England. Many served with the Canadian and British Forces during both World Wars.https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/home-children-1869-1930/Pages/home-children.aspx
Having just read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, I was expecting something similar (I highly recommend Before We Were Yours, by the way!). While there are similarities in the stories, there’s no comparison in the books. I just could not believe how slow-moving the storyline is in No Ocean Too Wide or how little character development there was.
I can’t recommend this one.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Monster Kisses, the second children’s book by Kyle Morey, is a delightful, short journey through the world of monsters kissing their babies. Monsters, surprisingly, kiss their kiddos the same way other mommies and daddies do…on the head, on the ear, on the face, on the tummy. This book is short with one simple sentence per monster. It’s a perfect “I’m in a hurry” book to read that will lead you to spend a little more time having a kiss-fest with your own little one.
Kyle L. B. Morey is the author of two other books: The Curious Sign on Aisle Nine (found on Amazon.com), and Ask God: My 30-Day Experiment with Prayer and Its Potential to Answer Yours (found on Amazon.com).
First thing: THIS IS SATIRE. Frankly, if you read it and can’t figure that out, there’s no hope for you. Second thing: Even if you know it’s satire, this may still strike a nerve or two. If so, then maybe you need to do some self-examination. ‘Nuf said.
I literally laughed out loud at How to Be a Perfect Christian. Some parts of it were downright hilarious. As a former mega-church-attending evangelical, there were some things here that were dead on.
“Many Christians just trudge through life without ever attaining to the higher levels of Christian faith. The root of your problem is that you’re not trying hard enough to become perfect by your own efforts. You’re trying to do the Christian life by the grace of God, allowing Him to gradually change you by the power of His Word. This works for some people, but it’s not befitting a true believer.
No, the true believer desires one thing above all else: conformity to the status quo of the modern church” (p. 6)
This book leaves no stone unturned as it examines every facet of modern-day Christian culture. Here’s a sampling from the chapters:
- Joining the Right Church (“A church that will help you achieve perfection will have a superslick website…” p. 18)
- Worshipping Like a Pro (“Show everyone else how spiritual you are with wild displays of emotion and hand raising…” p. 43)
- Doing Life Together (“Try really hard to sound spiritual in your interactions with other Christians…” p. 67)
- Serving in Church Without Ever Lifting a Finger (“The church is here to meet your needs, not the other way around…” p. 79)
- Looking Really Spiritual Online (“Get involved in bitter arguments with people from all faith traditions and backgrounds each day…” p. 96)
- Striving For Personal Perfection (“Secular movies are always sinful…” p. 112)
- Conforming to Mainstream Christian Beliefs (“The measuring stick the Lord left the church by which we might discern truth from error is the current beliefs of Christian culture…” p. 124)
- Quarantining Your Home From the Worldly Wastelands (“We recommend not allowing your kids to have any contact with any remotely non-Christian influences for at least the first twenty-five years of their lives…” p. 148)
- Crusading Against the Heathens (“You can even change the eternal fate of waiters and waitresses by leaving a Bible verse on your credit card receipt instead of a tip…” p. 161)
- Fighting On the Front Lines of the Culture War (“God gave us the gospel so we could effect social change and win the culture war…” p. 183)
- You’ve Arrived (“You must continue to earn the Lord’s favor each and every day by conforming to cultural Christianity even in the smallest details of your life…” p. 190)
This book isn’t for someone who can’t take a joke, or who can’t laugh at themselves. It will possibly make you point some fingers — maybe even some at yourself! I know that some people take exception to Christian satire. They may say that this is making fun of sacred things. I don’t think so. This is making fun of the MAN MADE conventions we place on faith. As such, they’re fair game. This in no ways makes fun of God or Jesus Christ. If anything, this book may make you look at some of your stances or practices in such a way that you might feel led to abandon some of the superficial trappings of religion and draw closer to God himself.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher. The opinions expressed are solely my own.