Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover

So lately I have been reading a lot to pass the time and overall just get out of my own head.  I've been having a hard time trying to figure out what to read recently because most of the books I've read were either recommended or similar in genre and said to be like the recommended ones that I loved.  Both plans played themselves out and so I went a few weeks without reading and couldn't stand it, so much so, that I started rereading ones I have.  This week I wanted to read something new and had no idea what, so I went to the library and ended up looking at each cover, reading the title, and sometimes reading the summary on the back to pick.  One book I grabbed was called Thou Shalt Not Road Trip by Anthony John.  It had a map on the cover with random pictures surrounding the boarder.  I didn't even bother to read the summary, I just thought it looked like it would be interesting and thought, what heck.  Ultimately I judged this book by the cover, and while I wasn't wrong because it was an amazing book, its also laughable because one of the deeper meanings I got from the book was...DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY THE COVER...figuratively speaking at least, I fell very heavily on the main character learning not to judge by looks but that it's what's on the inside that counts.

The basic background for the book is...

It takes us on a book tour with Luke Dorsey who has just written one of the most recent top selling Christian books - "Hallelujah." Due to a conflict in schedules with Luke's publisher, Luke's brother Matt is put in charge of making sure Luke completes his book tour from LA to St. Louis. What Luke doesn't realize is that Matt has invited two other traveling companions to join them - his girlfriend and her sister (who is in the midst of a classic teenage rebellion - piercings taking up both ears, lined tattoos all over her arms, and purple hair...and who used to be Luke's high school crush - this was before her transformation, she use to have gorgeous brown hair and the stereotypical Christian girl dress). Instead of taking interstate highways to each tour stop, Matt is determined to get from place to place on the Historic Route 66.  Luke's strong faith is challenged during his Route 66 trip as his friends, family and fans help him reexamine his positions on just about everything.

I personally couldn't put this book down.  It had drama and love interest/conflict but what I loved most was the faith.  In the book hundreds of people go to his book signings because they were so inspired by his words.  In an interview before the tour Luke told the world that it was a book of truth - NOT TRUE.  Throughout the tour Luke lies multiple times and digs himself deeper as it goes until at his second to last signing on the tour everything blows up in his face and he loses his best friend once again by denying that he even knows her.  Needless to say he's caught on that one too because by the next day pictures are published of them making out the night before and while thats all it was it looks like more.  Obviously his fans had turned and no one in their right mind would go to the last signing, but he does.  He fesses up to everything and admits that he's okay if they hate him and won't forgive him but that all he cares about is if the people he hurt personally and loves forgive him.  In the end most of the crowd didn't change their minds and still spouted words of disgust and while his ex crush/ex best friend/girlfriend turned ex girlfriend forgave him she made him settle for just friends in the end.  I'm sure some were mad that it wasn't a complete happily ever after but I loved it, it was REAL.  

I ended up looking at some reviews people wrote and one in particular caught my eye...

Must I give this book a rating? I couldn’t put it down. I can’t explain why, but trust me, that doesn’t mean this is a good book. Quite the opposite, I hate this book passionately.
Every single character was a terrible person.
Luke, the narrator was hypercritical, selfish, and annoying the entire time. His manner of speaking reflected much more closely what I’d expect from a middleschooler than the highschooler he was supposed to me. There’s a general lack of maturity and common sense on his part............

There is much more to the review but it's far to long to subject yall to that.  To be honest I don't disagree with much that this person wrote.  While reading the book I pretty much hated every character, but the end of the story is what made it all worth reading to me.   I could have cared less about the fact that Luke and the girl stayed friends in the end, I care more about the message it all sent because I think it's a lot like life.

Being a Christian doesn't mean you have to dress in church clothes all the time or even at all.  That's one thing I loved about my church in Texas, you could wear jeans and sensible clothes and cowboy boots and not feel judged.  Being a Christian also doesn't mean your perfect.  The people at the signings thought Luke was perfect but he wasn't, he was a self absorb lying jerk for the majority of it.  I think even the reader above expected Luke at least to be more "Christian" but truth is no one is perfect.  People lie, people can mean, people can be self absorbed, but I don't think that should make you a horrible Christian. It may not make sense, and yes I believe myself as a Christian that one should strive to be better and do our best to not lie and give kindness to everyone, but if we were all perfect, WHY would need God?  Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins, obviously someone knew we wouldn't be perfect!!!!!!!!  I'm not saying you should go around sinning right and left and then pray for forgiveness and start again the next day.  I think we should always try to learn from our sins and strive to be a better person, but sin happens, we all sin sometimes, I've sinned at times and I don't think that makes me a horrible person or un-Christian, it makes me human.  I've made mistakes and I own that because I learn from them.

I think this book hit me so much because it wasn't filled with lovable characters or that perfect image of a Christian that some people think of.  It was raw and real and more like they way I feel life is.  I mean even the love interest part in it hit me hard.  Luke had a crush on her for years and when she changes her hair color and gets piercings he just turns away like he doesn't know can't tell me that's not real life.  People today take one look at a person and judge immediately, ironically in the book Luke was her best friend and did it even though he already knew what a kind Christian girl she was on the inside.  Eventually he gets past it and they are together for a whole 24 hours before he blows it because in public he denies knowing her, but I feel like it was still a point made.  In todays world looks matter.  If you say they don't you're in denial.  I mean I have a bunch of tattoos that mean so much to me personally but as a nurse I can't let any show because it's been deemed unprofessional.  When I was a lifeguard I had a kid ask me if my tattoo on my back (which shows my honor to the military and a reminder to myself of my service) was a devil worshiping tattoo.  I more or less just laughed at the comment and I could care less what others think of me and my tattoos but the point is in that moment I was judged and I think the world needs to take a good look at all the stereotypes and labels put out and realize that they are just that and that we need to get to know people first before we label.....

In other words......IF YOU DONT KNOW ME, DON'T JUDGE ME!!!!!!