Sunday, May 06, 2007

BOM: Results/Reader Reaction


From Publishers Weekly:

What can animals tell us about God? Do animals have souls? The prolific Hunt (author of more than 100 books) offers a compelling story that asks both questions. Sema is a 250-pound western lowland gorilla referred to as "my girl" by 30-year-old Glee Granger, who has raised Sema from a newborn at her home away from the zoo. Glee teaches Sema sign language and hopes to show her how to read, proving that gorillas can assimilate abstract concepts and use their imaginations. Sema's talents cause the director of the Thousand Oaks Zoo in Clearwater, Fla., to demand her return so he can exploit her abilities to help fund zoo projects. Helping Sema's assimilation into the gorilla habitat is "by-the-book" Brad Fielding, a potential romantic interest for Glee. Hunt knows how to craft believable, interesting characters, and readers will find themselves drawn to the lovable Sema, the conflicted Glee and Glee's scripture-spouting "Nana," the proprietor of a Florida motel. The tension accelerates after a near-death trauma, when Sema begins signing to the nonreligious Glee about a "shiny man" who offers insights about God. Hunt handles this unusual and potentially touchy plot development adeptly. The ending may seem abrupt, but the Christy Award–winning Hunt will please many of her faith fiction fans as well as animal lovers with this poignant tale.

Dear Angela
I have to tell you Unspoken was not on the top of my reading list but when
my friend insisted I read it, I am so glad I did! Unspoken is by far the
most wonderful book I have read in a long time. I have since bought it and
recommended it to my friends. So far everyone I have recommended it to have
loved it! Thank you so much for writing it! --Cheryl

I loved UNSPOKEN! After not even being able to finish THE AWAKENING I was afraid Angela Hunt was done with giving us wonderful refreshing stories but she has redeemed herself with Sema's story. I couldn't put the book down at all and loved the way Sema was so much like a real person. I learned a great deal while being thoroughly entertained. Thanks Angela and make sure the next one is as good! (Amazon)

I won't say any more about the plot. You will have to read this book for yourself. Suffice it to say that talking to the animals is not a one-way street. Sometimes you have to listen to them too, even if what they say sounds pretty bizarre, like, say, talking about God. So, is Glee listening? Is the gorilla a little psychotic? Or is she on to something astounding? This is an intriguing subject and I wish author Hunt had done a better job with it. The book is over-written, with pages of breathless emotion and enough sentimentality to drown a horse (or gorilla). Glee is an unlikeable, self-centered, arrogant and touchy individual. The other characters are equally one-dimensional. Although the author has obviously done a lot of research on gorillas, the animals in this book are not quite believable. Well, that's just my opinion. If you like reading about talking gorillas, like Koko, or if you want to get a (fictional) gorilla's insights on spirituality, this might be just the book for you. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber. (Amazon)

Angie here again: Well--I liked Glee just fine, but maybe I see myself in her. :-) And I think the above is the first time I have ever been accused of being sentimental!

But there you have it. The good, the bad, and the opinionated. :-)

Tomorrow--your questions and answers. If you have any questions at all, leave them in the comments and I'll be sure to answer them.

~~Angie

4 comments:

Dana said...

I'm still trying to understand this whole animals in heaven thing. So you're saying they have souls and when they die they go to heaven? Wouldn't they have to understand sin and believe in Jesus then? But infants don't understand all that and they go to heaven. Ugh. This stuff makes my brain hurt.

I can't believe someone couldn't get through The Awakening!!! That's probably my favorite Angela Hunt book - but I see myself a bit in Aurora. I loved, loved, loved that book. In fact, I might just read that again right now. :)

Angela said...

Dana--

I can't be dogmatic about some of this, but I'll tell you what I think.

Yes, animals have souls, because in some verses the same Hebrew word is used for both when referring to men and beasts. And yes, there are animals in heaven, because Jesus comes from heaven riding on a white horse, remember, and the four "living creatures" described in Revelation are the same Greek word often used for "animal" or "beast."

BUT--remember that in eternity, we will not only live in heaven, but we will populate the new earth--a redeemed earth. Our lovely mountains, even cities, I think, will be what they were supposed to be when the Lord redeems this planet. You like the redwood forest? I think we'll have one very like it. After this corrupted planet is destroyed, we and the Lord Jesus will rule over a redeemed earth with cities and sports and recreation and businesses . . . lots to do!

Men and animals ARE fundamentally different--men are created in the image of God; animals aren't. We were created "a little lower than the angels." So animals aren't "saved" in the same sense we are. But God gave us dominion over the animals, so when we fell, they fell . . and they still suffer the effects of corruption. When mankind is redeemed, however, and restored to the communion with God the Creator intended us to have, animals will be restored to the place they were intended to have.

Now--do I believe that when my beloved dogs die, that they go to straight heaven like people do? Hmmm . . . no. BUT--I believe that in heaven and on the new earth, my loving Heavenly Father could restore the animals who meant so much to me on earth. When I move into eternity, when I walk upon the redeemed earth and move into my new home on the new earth, I wouldn't be surprised to find my beloved pet-companions waiting for me.

Randy Alcorn discusses this in great detail in his book, HEAVEN. There's another book called THE SOULS OF ANIMALS that is fascinating. I don't agree 100 percent with everything in the latter book, but it gives food for thought.

Angie

Kay said...

I think animals have an insight into God that we don't. Even without near death experiences. I know cats see things that we can't!

I enjoy hearing the ducks praising God in the mornings when I walk at the park. Naturalists might exlpain it differently, but I know what they're really doing. :)

I am especially interested in the fact that some animals have an evil bent. You address that a bit in Unspoken. I wonder what that is about? Choice?(do animals have choice?) Mental illness? Tools of the enemy like the serpent was? What is your take on that?

And I want some of Susan's cookies. Bet they're all gone by now.

Dana said...

Animals evil? Now that brings up an interesting question. Do some animals go to hell then?

Angie, thank you for the extensive answer. I do see the issue of animals in heaven completely differently than animals on the new earth.

I can't be more grateful that God knows all these things and I don't have to figure it all out. :)