Mental Health: I hesitate to enter into this area for reasons that have nothing to do with the book. Often people diagnosed as being mentally ill are not, in my opinion, mentally ill at all. They are emotionally traumatized or something of that nature, but their mind functions fine. We do see this with Kate. She is classified as being mentally ill, not because she hears her husband talking to her, which should have been a key to healing her emotional health, but waited until this emotional state reached a point of irrational behavior. Again, how do we determine what is rational and what is irrational behavior? In any event these actions, both good and bad, are brought about so forcefully and realistically that I find myself talking about Kate as if she were a friend, someone I knew and needed defending. This, to me, is one of the marks of a truly great writer. Bonnie Grove takes us to places we would rather not go, then has us believing that we really are there. So who is mentally ill, Bonnie, Kate, you and I the readers? The term for me is too subjective, and what is worse, it is subjective to the current trends of thinking. When I was a child a person hearing a dead person speaking would have been a little horrifying, but I would more or less have accepted it. There is a danger here as well. Can the dead really speak to the living? Biblically the answer is no they cannot. We find that demons often masquerade as lost loved ones so they might entangle us in a series of horror and fear and keep us in bondage. If you look closely at TALKING TO THE DEAD this is exactly what you will find. You don't find Kevin coming back to reassure Kate of anything. Anytime he speaks always seems to be at a moment when it can most rattle her. One instance he actually began shouting at her, definitely a demonic tactic. Am I saying Kevin was demonic? Of course not. I'm saying that the enemy would prey upon selective memories and lever them to cause fear in her life.
What life lessons can we take with us from this? Well, first of all, let's be slow to categorize someone as being mentally ill. I don't even like this term applied to people who are "intellectually challenged" to use a politically correct term. I have seen people who have low IQs, people with obvious handicaps when it comes to intelligence, and yet these people seem to be the same people who are able to love others without reserve. If this is the case, then aren't we the ones who are mentally ill? Have we allowed our intelligence to cause a certain prejudice in us that not only makes it difficult to love others the way Jesus called us to do, but to label these people as being somehow less fortunate than we are. Consider with me Jesus as He goes into the Temple to pray. There in the open, making a great show of himself, is a Pharisee. As he lifts his eyes towards Heaven he extols all the great things that he has done and then says "I thank you that I'm not like this tax collector." Meanwhile, that same tax collector (publican in the King James Version) doesn't even dare to life up his eyes. Crying he beats on his chest and weeps, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." Jesus then turns to His dicsiples and says, "Surely this man, rather than the other, shall return to his house forgiven." I'm making a parallel here and I hope you see it. Those who think they have everything all figured out, those who believe they are special chosen ones of God, chosen above other people, these will pray, but their prayers will not be heard. Yet, those who realize their shortcomings, even the fact that they are disabled in some way, mentally, physically, emotionally, whatever, when they pray, as that tax payer prayed, "God, be merciful to me a sinner," they shall be heard. This is why they can go on with their lives with smiles on their faces, while the rest of us look like the weight of the world is pressing us down. We have refused to give our burden over to the Lord because we are so "intelligent" so "mentally stable" that we must carry that load. Yet this is not God's will. Jesus said, "Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Until we get off our high horses and let God bear our burdens as He told us He wishes to do then we must carry our burdens ourselves, including the burdens of sin and unrighteousness. Those who are "mentally ill" frequently are aware of their state and allow others to bear their burdens. True many are now letting medical science handle this through medicine, and those are the ones who remain in bondage, but those who realize they need help, those are the ones God helps. He doesn't increase their mental capacity. He doesn't give them some great insight as to how to be happy. He just takes their load and they are happy. Oh that we would learn this lesson for ourselves.
Don't forget to visit Bonnie's site. You'll find her fiction page HERE
Then you'll probably want to go out and purchase a copy. Here are some links to where you can find her book for sale online:
David C. Cook Publishing
Barnes & Noble
Check out these other member blogs this week for more
The Christian Fiction Review Blog (known as CFRB) is a ministry that promotes quality Christian fiction in order that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be shared with others who might otherwise not hear it, at least in a context that they would appreciate and understand. Each book is "previewed" in order to maintain the quality and content of the book. Books that are accepted for blog tours are given to the members by the author to review, according to the number of members requesting a copy. It is the belief and practice of CFRB to post positive reviews as a type of payment for these books. However, I want to emphasize again that these books first go through a preview stage where they are deemed of a high enough quality to tour.