Review of D.W. Pierce’s The Deborah Club
By Greg Taylor
D.W. Pierce’s debut novel begins with the main character stepping in it and trying to cover his tracks. A case of a mistaken text recipient leads to a zany, awkward moment for a minister of a traditional church that doesn’t allow women to speak in the worship services.
Written in a moment of brash impulsivity and intended only for his wife, Craig had written a manifesto about how women ought to “speak” in their own way and force change upon the church. The only problem is that when he clicks send on his email, the minister delivers the digital manifesto to a woman by the same name as his wife in his email address book. No plot spoiler here, this is the humorously awkward set up for the story, and Craig, to unravel.
The mistake the minister makes could happen to any of us, right? But the result of Craig’s mistake leads to a series of unfortunate events in a punchy, hard-hitting brawl of a story about how men and women battle for power, in this case the “unlikely” setting of a church. Those of us who work in churches know it’s not “unlikely”!
Pierce’s Deborah Club is a fun read, but for readers who have experienced the kind of stifling work, home, or church environment where men and women are clearly not valued equally for their gifts or contributions, the book may bring up painful memories and wounds. The story ending satisfies, however, and may be a balm of healing — or vindication — for those still struggling with inequalities where they live, work, and worship.
One might assume by the title that the book is for women, but the book will be appreciated and enjoyed by men and women alike. Though not meant to be a discussion starter or any kind of curriculum, the book has obvious traction among Christians and people involved in churches. For those involved in church leadership, Pierce’s ecclesial tragedy (Shakespearean sense: ironic, witty, dark humor), will lead to readers thinking more seriously about the power games people play in all kinds of organizations, not just churches.
Pierce packs a punch in The Deborah Club, and many surprises await the reader who enjoys clever, tasteful innuendo, smart dialogue, and crisp plot lines that don’t meander but keep you marching to the clever ending.
Greg Taylor is co-author with Randy Harris of the newly released book, Daring Faith (Leafwood, 2016).