Friday, January 13, 2012

'The Grace Effect', by Larry Alex Taunton - a book review (you could win the review copy)

 A long time ago, in the dim dark past, I used to write book reviews for the Christian Woman magazine. I have always relished a free book, and the opportunity to share new books with others thrills me. (I guess that could describe what I like most about my work at the library.) Some I love, others are just so so, and well others I have struggled to get through, but most books have something about them that is worth discussing.

Happily one day while surfing the net I stumbled upon I signed up. Before I knew it I had chosen a book and it was on its way from the US to country Western Australia. Once again I was writing reviews. Yay!

Here is Book Review One:

An apologist and Christopher Hitchens deep in discussion in a restaurant, way past midnight.
A family flies to the Ukraine to finalise the adoption of an orphaned girl.
This is 'The Grace Effect: how the power of one life can reverse the corruption of unbelief' by Larry Alex Taunton (Thomas Nelson, 2011).

 The blurb on the back of the book says "Simply defined, the 'grace effect' is an observable phenomenon - that life is demonstrably better where authentic Christianity flourishes". I wanted Taunton, Christian apologist,  to persuade me that this is the case, but instead I couldn't get past my frustration with his arguments, and annoyance at his insistence that it is only Christian organisations that make a difference. I support Medicine Sans Frontiers, Amnesty International, and Women to Women International (none of these are affiliated with a religion) and I kept thinking -what of these organisations? Does the world not breathe a little easier because of what they do? I personally know of a young mother in the Congo who would say her life is better for their work.

What I did like, however, was the story that drew me to this book - of how Taunton and his family adopt an Ukrainian orphan. I was once involved with a Christian (yes Christian) organisation that sent aid to orphans in the Ukraine - victims of the Chernobyl disaster, so it felt personal to me. Sasha's feisty nature is so appealing and I found myself wanting everything to work out so that she could live happily ever after with new mum, dad and brothers. (Though is it a sign of success that 'she has forgotten most of her Russian and instead chatters away in an easy if  heavily accented English' ?  p221) I loved the photos of Sasha at her brother's wedding. What joy.

I was disappointed that I felt so critical of ' The Grace Effect'. No one would doubt Taunton's love for his adopted daughter or of his commitment to Christ, but I was not comfortable with this story of love mixed in with an apologist's argument. I just wanted to read about Sasha. Sadly I was relieved to finish it. I'm giving it a 2 out of 5.  Judging by other reviews, not everyone will feel the same way as me.

If you live locally and would like to win the review copy be the first to leave a comment. I would love to discuss it with you over a cuppa in the library. 

Asta x

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. Okay you don't have to be local to win it!Asta x

  2. Asta, you've found out what I found out from review copies last year: that 'Christian' literature is highly frustrating. It has no sex and no swearing, but often no plot and no characterisation. Christians wear white hats and beat the life out of non-Christians. Violence is a big part of these novels, as are vampires and other supernaturals! I went back to older Christian writers like C.S. Lewis and Madeleine l'Engle with their very different approaches.

  3. So Ted would you like my review copy? :)