A Question Regarding Book Reviews

At the rate I am currently reviewing Created To Be His Help Meet, I will be reviewing it for years. This isn’t necessarily a problem except that I have other books I want to review in the same way, including:

I Kissed Dating Goodbye, by Joshua Harris

So Much More, by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkins

To Train Up a Child, by Michael Pearl

So I thought I’d solicit your opinions. One option is that I can start posting Created To Be His Help Meet installations twice a week instead of once a week. Another option is that I can start reviewing a second book and post one segment of that a week in addition to the segment of Created To Be His Help Meet.

I’m also going to start posting reviews of additional books, but just one-post reviews rather than page-by-page reviews. These books will be ones written about evangelicalism, the Christian Right, and related topics, and my reviews will be geared toward looking at what these books tell us about these subjects.

Your thoughts on all this?

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Adele

    I like the page-by-page review posts a lot. I think adding a second post of this type each week is a good idea. If it were me, I would prefer to focus on reviewing one book rather than try to do two at once, but as a reader of the reviews it makes no difference to me, so please do whichever you prefer!


  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    I guess whatever works best for you. On one hand, it’s probably easier to center yourself on a single book than two but on the other hand, it’s probably more entertaining to mix it up a bit? I have no personal preference ^__^

  • http://alisoncummins.com Alison Cummins

    One book at a time, once or twice a week. To Train Up A Child has been covered on NLQ so it’s not pressing for your readers.

    If you’re going to be doing more than one book review post per week I’d prefer one page-by-page and one one-poster, but whatever works best for you. The site has to be fun and stimulating for you!

  • http://mattiechatham.wordpress.com/ Hännah

    I’d love to see you take on So Much More, especially as a page-by-page review. That would be delightful.

    • BiSian

      Agreed. I read So Much More for giggles last year and I’d love to see you take it apart.

    • wanderer

      agreed, me too. So much more, page-by-page. I would be happy to see 2 different books going at at the same time, but whichever you’d prefer. That’s my vote :)

  • http://tinygrainofrice.wordpress.com Kristy

    I would LOVE to see you take on To Train Up a Child

    • DataSnake

      I know it’s a bit delayed, but I second that notion.

  • Steve

    I wanna see you do I Kissed Dating Goodbye really badly! Joshua Harris would be interesting to study, and some of my more laissez faire evangelical acquaintances follow this type of dating advice.

    But I love the CTBHH review too! Whatever you do, I’ll be following closely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia lucrezaborgia

    Twice a week and longer entries? Tho I’m a history major so I’m used to reading extremely long tomes :D

  • centauri

    Fred Clarke is only on the second book in the Left Behind series, even after so many years, so don’t worry on that front :)

    I’d like to see you do the Botkins book! Either after you’ve finished the CTBHH-review (twice a week) or while you’re still busy with it (so one post for each book, a week). But ultimately, it’s your blog. I look forward to your posts regardless of your decision.

    • bitwize

      He’s on to the third book now, but he’s only a few weeks into it. ;)

      To Libby, I like your idea of two posts a week on a single book. That seems like the most straightforward solution to me, but whatever you’re most comfortable with is fine. I love your deconstructions. (I love deconstructions in general, though). Have you been following Anna Mardoll’s deconstruction of the Narnia series? It’s pretty interesting.

      • bitwize

        (Sorry, I mistyped my email address on the above post, and misspelled Ana Mardoll’s name. That’ll teach me to post after a couple drinks…)

  • wren7

    First, I’m a new reader of your blog (having been sent a link to your post on why you lost faith in the pro life movement) and I love it! So thoughtful and intelligent. I’ve read quite a few books on fundamentalist, patriarchal religions (fundamentalist Mormons, Quiverfull, fundamentalist Muslims) and find them fascinating. How they can so stifle and control women amazes (and horrifies) me. I grew up a very conservative Christian but like you moved away from my conservative faith, for me when I was in my mid 20s.

    I’d love to see your take on So Much More by the Botkin sisters. They’re daughters of a prominent Quiverfull family, right? That should be by turns fascinating and nauseating.

  • Nea

    I vote for running books in tandem – review of one on say, Tuesdays, and continuing Helpmeet on Fridays.

  • Rae

    I also vote for two at a time, with each posted once a week – variety is great!

    And I’ll lobby for I Kissed Dating Goodbye – I think it would be especially interesting to see the two books, one written by a man and one by a woman, on such a similar topic reviewed side-by-side.

  • Cassie

    Two at a time! I look forward to visiting your site every morning and check it several times a day sometimes for new posts.
    I think So Much More would be really good. I debate the stay at home daughter movement with a friend all the time…..

  • Carys Birch

    As long as you don’t stop CTBHH! :)

    I’ve mandated reading your review of it for myself as part of my ongoing commitment to personal de-brainwashing.

    • http://onceuponanartjournal.blogspot.com Tricia

      Oh, me too! I could have written your comment. Indeed I was about to say something very similar until I skimmed through the comments and this one made me chuckle at the similarity.

      Btw, Libby, I would also enjoy a detailed review of So Much More. Honestly I doubt a page by page review of the other two books your mentioned would hold my interest as much, as they are less central to issues of identity formation as the “women’s roles” books, and that is what is currently fascinating me. However, I am only one voice so take my vote with a grain of salt. :) I’m sure you’ll do a good job with whichever one you take on.

  • http://mymusingcorner.wordpress.com Lana

    OMG the Bodkins book makes me puke even more than Created to be his helpmate. its that bad. your readers who aren’t from the homeschool patriarchal crap won’t even believe that book. Thankfully my parents never kept me out of college, so didn’t buy into the Bodkins lies. but I used to date a guy whose sister at that time was totally in love with the Bodkins and worshiped the ideas. it was like hello…..

  • Sarah-Sophia

    I would love to hear your thoughts on the Twilight saga. I only read outlines of the books but I can tell they are full of patriarchal themes.

  • http://thechurchproject.me Tracey

    If it were up to me I’d like the same book for a while. Just remember, you’re the blog lady and this fits around you and your life. So do what pleases you. I try not to have any qualms about taking breaks and changing the format at my own blog. I have health issues and a busy life!

  • Ibis3

    My preference would be two books at a time, two posts a week. But you’re a busy woman so please don’t feel too much pressure about it. (I’m just thinking that taking on two projects with a weekly deadline might stress you out, and I wouldn’t want you to feel overworked or obligated to meet an unobtainable post quota).

  • Hilary


    May I suggest a different book to blog about? Ultimately this is your blog, I totally respect that (and you), but since you asked for reader feedback, here is mine.

    I think focusing soley on fundamentalist evengelical books is not the best idea. I think going over them and calling them out is good and the right thing to do, but I think you should balance that with a book that has a positive, helpful message that you agree with as well. If the majority of this blog becomes “look how evil and horrible those people are” it becomes monotanous, and you miss the chance for sharing positive messages as well. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do the books you mentioned, obvioulsy what you’re doing with them mean a lot to many people, who find it helpful to have somewhere safe to go to work through the fundamentalism they’ve survived. And again, it is your blog.

    But what if you went back and forth between CTBHHM and something by Harriet Lerner? She’s about as far away from Debbie Pearl as you can get and still be in the Abrahamic religous grouping – a liberal Jewish feminist with a real psychology Ph.D who worked at the Menninger Clinic for many years. Her first, and most famous book is “The Dance of Anger”


    This book is about women’s anger, and how it’s been used against us, used to silence us, and how it can be used to protect unbalanced relationships. But what she does so brilliently is look at ways of respecting and using anger effectively to deal with what and why we are angery. And she does it with kindness and compassion. I don’t have it in front of me, but please check it out.

    Her other book, which I think would be a great counterpart to CTBHHM is “The Dance of Intimacy” I use this book in my own marriage when we fight, and it’s helped to keep fights from becoming unresolvable wars. I’ve used it when I had a hard time with my mom over a life choice I made that she didn’t agree on. I didn’t go on to grad school so I’m the only person in my family without a Masters degree. Yes, that is a big deal in my family. This helped me listen to and talk to my mother so we stopped snipping and resenting each other. I’ve used it with friends who had PTSD from their own childhoods and where trying to make better choices as adults.

    Here’s her example of a healthy relationship:
    ” . . . intimacy means that we can be who we are in a relationship, and allow the other person to do the same. “Being who we are” requires that we can talk openly about things that are important to us, that we take a clear position on where we stand on important emotional issues, and that we clarify the limits of what is acceptable and tolerable to us in a relationship. “Allowing the other person to do the same” means that we can stay emotionally connected to the other party who thinks, feels, and believes differently, without needing to change, convince, or fix the other.
    An intimate relationship is one in which neither party silences, sacrifices, or betrays the self and each party expresses strength and vulnerability, weakness and competence in a balanced way.”

    Having a healthy sense of ‘the self’ includes:
    *Present a balanced picture of both our strengths and weaknesses.
    *Make clear statements of our beliefs, values, and priorities, and then keep our behavior congruent with these.
    *Address difficult and painful issues and take a position on matters important to us.
    *State our differences and allow others to do the same.

    Her examples include not just husband/wife scenarios, but mother/daughter, father/daughter, sister/sister, between friends, and always at least one lesbian couple. She includes stories about her own family, talking about how she was the incorrigable ‘problem child’ who refused to be fixed or changed, because by acting out when her mother had cancer she was doing the only thing she could think of to make her mother so focused on her behavior that her mother wouldn’t die. The only time religion comes up in this book is when she talkes about a divorced mother who dropes out of church who can’t talk about religion at all with her mother who is hyper christian. That example treats both the religious mother’s and the divorced daughter’s positions with respect, and does bring some resolution between them that does not compromise either woman.

    Even if you don’t blog about this book, I can’t recomment it, or Mrs. Lerner, highly enough. It’s worth reading just for your own private life. But I really do think the contrast between Harriet and Debbie would be a fascinating display of healthy v. unhealthy dynamics in intimate relationships that would make for good bloging material. It would give us, your readers, a chance to explor Lerners work, and maybe bring some of it into our own lives for the better.

    That’s my suggestion for including some other books. I also think twice a week is about the most I’d like to see book reviews, so we have a few days to talk about it before going on to the next one. Personally I’d stick with one book at a time, or alternate two very different books so that the posts don’t all run together thematically.


    • Hilary

      Here’s the link for Dance of Intimacy. Also, on a practical note Lerner’s books aren’t much past 200 pages in paperback, so it’s not some 500 page textbook.


      And to everybody else, all of us Libby Ann readers, even if she doesn’t blog one of Lerners books they really are that good, and that life changing. Check them out for yourself – if they help, wonderful. If you don’t agree with her, then you don’t have to follow her at all. That definition of healthy intimacy above is what I use to define my relationships with family and friends, and it has never failed me.


    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      What an interesting idea! I’m going to see if I can get my hands on a copy of Dance of Intimacy over break this next week and see what I think about it. I do think you’re right that making a difference and leading a healthy life means not simply deconstructing bad ideas but also constructing good ones to go in their place. Thanks for the reminder! :-)

  • Sarah Jane

    I would be very interested in seeing two books reviewed at once — especially if there were enough parallels between the two that you could draw some interesting comparisons or contrasts in your ongoing reviews. I also think it’s a blogger’s prerogative to skip ahead when the content (and thereby your critique) becomes repetitive. And by all means, write about books of YOUR choosing, because those are the books that you have something important to say about.

  • sylvia

    I’ve only heard of all these books, so I’m finding your page-by-page reviews fascinating! Whether you post them more often or do more than one at a time, I say keep them coming!

  • Susan

    I think page by page is overkill, as much as I like reading it. Plus, I’m sure it’s a lot of work for you. Maybe a chapter a week to allow you the time to dismantle so much crazy?