Abort (Book Review)

I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
  • Author: C.D. Hulen
  • On-Sale Now
  • Synopsis: Hulen explores the abortion debate through the lens of a space-story novella.

Discovering Abort

I began seeing Facebook ads for Abort several months ago, I believe because I follow various pro-life / abolitionist pages. More recently, I encountered the title in my friend-circle on GoodReads. Seeing the positive reviews the book was receiving, I reached out to author C.D. Hulen, who kindly sent me a review copy.

Impression

Wow! Artful and brilliant, this is a book I’d definitely recommend. Like Hannibal’s The Paris Betrayal, this was a book that took me awhile to “get into,” but then blew my mind!

I would describe the book as more “philosophy-driven” than “plot-driven.” I find the novel made its biggest impression on me at the end of the book. Since finishing, I have been reflecting a lot more on what I read. In contrast, with most books that I read, I am most invested while reading, unless specific themes stand out (or I just “miss” a character).

Scriptural Connection / Spiritual Themes

So God created mankind in His own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female He created them.

Gen. 1:27

Human dignity is a HUGE theme in Abort. Redemption, forgiveness, and surrender also have their place. While there is some Christian content (which was beautiful), I don’t think the amount of spiritual content would deter a non-Christian from enjoying the narrative.

Why Abort StandsOut

This book stands out to me because it is a work of fiction that deals with the philosophical arguments for and against abortion, through allegory. Most of the literature I have encountered on the topic of abortion is argumentative nonfiction (by which I mean “philosophy,” which would generally fall under the nonfiction umbrella— whether true or not). In the cases where I do find fiction that addresses abortion, the storyline usually revolves around an unexpected pregnancy.

Hulen’s work differs, because of the symbolic nature of his work. Abortion (a term that is conspicuously absent from the story) is represented by the removal of “cargo” from a state of suspended animation.

Subtlety, Symbolism & Storyline

I really appreciated Hulen’s subtlety, throughout. I was expecting an overt parallel, with Hulen making statements about how our present cultural climate contributed to the making of the “present” of the book. (The book’s setting is almost entirely independent of our world. While there are references to earth, the book is set entirely in space, with flashback references to earth, as well as two fictional planets.)

In fact, despite the familiarity of the arguments, I feel that the symbolism did an excellent job of veiling the meaning. (“Let he who has ears…”). I would be interested to see how my interpretation of the plotline would have been different, had the book been given a different title. In my opinion, the title “Abort” is definitely an eye-catcher for the pro-life/abolitionist communities. However, I think that with a different title, the book may draw in an unsuspecting pro-choice reader. Given that the title is the only overt reference to abortion, I think a different title would provoke thought, without evoking pre-conceived notions or raising the reader’s hackles.

I also very much enjoyed the nonlinear timeline, which interspersed scenes from the past with Mason’s present experiences on the ship. This lent an air of mystery to the plotline, as there is a lot of build-up establishing the occurrences that led Mason to where he is now.

In addition to the main abortion metaphor, there’s also a really neat chess motif woven throughout. I was really impressed with this detail, which seemed incidental throughout most of the story, but then took on more obvious significance, near the end. It makes me want to revisit the chess scenes to examine the build-up.

Personal Significance

Although I didn’t plan it this way, I’m posting this review on my birthday :). This is significant, not just because (obviously) I was, in fact, born, but because I was an “unplanned” pregnancy. While my mom would never have considered abortion, I came at a very surprising and difficult time. And my mom, before me, was even more unexpected. As it turns out,my mom was the result of an affair (which we only learned a few years ago) so we are VERY GLAD that she is here and was not aborted. So, aside from my general opposition to abortion, I have a personal motivation for backing the movement— and it is such a blessing for me to be able to post about this particular book on my birthday!

Recommendation

I would recommend this for young adults and up, not because of any “inappropriate” content, but because of the nature theme and because of the symbolism. I think a slightly older reader would be better equipped to appreciate/interact with the themes presented.

On-Sale Today

Today, is apparently, a BIG day for publishing 😉

Four books I recently reviewed are on-sale today!

  • Authors: Andrews & Wilson
  • Publisher: Tyndale House
  • On-Sale Date: Sept. 7th
  • Synopsis: Newly-retired Navy SEAL Jed Johnson finds himself engaged in an urgent new operation: tracking down twelve year-old Sarah Beth and her kidnappers.
  • My Review
  • Author: Eberhard Arnold; Compiled and Edited by Charles E. Moore
  • Publisher: Plough Publishing House
  • Synopsis: This is a collection that features writings from a variety of writers and theologians, including Mother Teresa, Leo Tolstoy and John Wesley.
  • My Review
  • Author: Michael Guillen, PhD
  • Publisher: Tyndale House
  • Synopsis: Scientist Michael Guillen outlines the formation of his worldview, highlighting the ways that science informed and intersected with his developing faith.
  • My Review

With these Shoes I Thee Wed… (Book Review)

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
  • Author: Tope Omotosho
  • Publisher: Leverage Publishing
  • On-Sale Now
  • Synopsis: Book one of Omotosho’s Marriage series follows multiple different characters in their searches for romance. Along the way, they learn that it is essential to seek God, rather than marriage, trusting in His choice for their partners.

Scriptural Connection

Omotosho opens the novel with an important verse from Song of Solomon:

Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem,

by the gazelles, yes, by all the wild deer:

Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up,

until the time is ripe—and you’re ready.

Song of Solomon 3:5

What I Liked

  • The book’s cover is lovely, from the wedding dress / shoes to the font selection
  • The characters were intriguing. I really enjoyed the way Omotosho weaved together several distinctive narratives. It was also fun to learn how the lives of the main characters (Toke, Dayo and Jadesola, Mayowa and Jumoke) intersected with each other. I especially liked reading about Toke’s career as a fashion designer, and her relationships with her best friends.
  • The writing, like the storylines, was engaging. Omotosho is the second Nigerian author I’ve read and she infuses Nigerian words and phrases, throughout the text. While I interpreted the language with context clues, I also discovered that she included a glossary of terms, at the end of the book. As such, this can be a fun cultural-learning tool.
  • The shoe analogy runs throughout the book, creating a clear and central thesis.

Important Themes

The central theme of the novel is that it is important to trust God with our dreams for marriage, following His calling when it comes to finding a romantic partner. I believe this is a very important message for people who are currently dating. It has been several years since I last dated, but I think that this book, like the Princess Cut movie, would have impacted me during that time period.

With that said, as someone who is not dating, there is a lot of emphasis on finding a romantic partner. Both Toke and Jadesola experience feelings of inadequacy because they are not married. While both characters learn to trust God with finding a romantic partner, there is the underlying assumption that each will indeed get married.

For readers who are called to marriage, I think that this book is an excellent read! For readers who are called to singleness or are taking a break from dating, I would caution that marriage is very important in this book.

Beneath the umbrella of trusting God, Omotosho also emphasizes that the most important quality in a mate is someone who loves God, and that God is the One choosing our mate. She also discusses the importance of being the right “shoe,” that is, being the sort of prospective spouse that God wants us to be.

Discussion of Purity

While the emphasis on marriage was a bit strong for me, I do appreciate that purity is emphasized, as is sexuality in the exclusive content of marriage. At the same time, there is also a brief mention of “being a virgin for God,” implying that it is possible to reclaim our purity.

I think this is an important point, as well, because God truly is the God of second chances. I recognize that the purity movement often does not address this idea and places enormous weight on physical purity as something that is “lost,” once and for all. In reality, physical purity is not an exception to God’s redemptive power. So, I do appreciate that Omotosho addresses this argument.

Content Consideration

Sex is less of a “taboo” word in the novel, which includes references to (off-page) sex, as well as a few casual mentions to sex, in conversation. With that said, there is nothing graphic. (In fact, the “main” romance doesn’t even include kissing.)

There are also references to infidelity, and to STDs.

Without getting into the details, due to spoilers, there was one scene (where God speaks to a character) that I felt uncertain about, because of what was being attributed to God.

Recommendation

In terms of audience, I would recommend this book to adults, because of the nature content. Among adults, I would specifically the novel to Christians who are dating, as it strongly emphasizes the importance of seeking God first in romantic relationships.

Overall, this was a very fun read, with an important message for dating singles. This is a great topic to consider, for those who are involved in, or considering, a romantic relationship. I think I would have benefited from this book, while dating, and it even includes discussion questions.