Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wounded by Claudia Mair Burney


Some stories stretch my mind and my faith to the point of developing new spiritual insights and muscles. Others stretch it so far it snaps back and leaves me almost feeling spiritual slapped. And then there are those who take me into the realms of the unbelievable and just leave me there.

Unfortunately, for me, this was one of those kinds of novels.

Claudia Mair Burney's book, "Wounded" is an ambitious novel. Chronicling the tale of several characters at once, the point of view bounces around quicker than a Chihuahua on speed.

That alone is confusing.

I found myself beginning to identify with the main characters: Gina, a single mom struggling with mental illness and a chronic physical ailment, trying desperately to hold on to her faith; Zoe, Gina's young daughter, forced to almost raise herself at times due to her mother's illnesses and manic/depressive episodes.

Then there's Anthony Priest, the one who witnesses Gina's miracle in the balcony of the church that Ash Wednesday. The one who longs to love, protect and care for her and little Zoe. And last, but not least, we meet Veronica, Anthony's mother and hater of his very essence.

All come together over an unusual manifestation occurring in Gina's body. While praying passionately that Ash Wednesday, Gina's palm began to seep blood. No, actually it began to pour blood.

Soon, it was in her left hand as well. Then traveled to her feet...a phenomenon known as stigmata. And everyone she touches when she bleeds becomes healed or delivered in some mysterious way.

For a while I was getting the story. I was able to suspend my disbelief in the phenomenon to reach to the heart of the message found in the book. But about midway through it, I got lost, and never really found my way back out.

Some cultural issues may have blocked my understanding...Gina and many of the characters are African-American. Quite possibly, my limited understanding of such manifestations were a road block as well.

I found some of the language offensive, and one word in particular highly offensive. Suggestive language was also included in some of the scenes, which bordered on uncomfortable for me.

In all, the novel seemed half well written, and then strayed so far off point that I think I ultimately missed it. I'm trying to expand my reading horizons, and was familiar with Claudia's work.

But I think I may have picked the wrong book for initial exposure to this author. You'll have to decide for yourself. I'm giving "Wounded" one out of five bookmarks, with an unsettled heart as a charm. I won't give up on Claudia's stories...just not sure this one was worth taking time to finish.

Happy Reading!



Anonymous said...

I LOVED this book! I would encourage anyone with a curious mind like mind that enjoys finding about strange phenomenon like stigmata and enjoy fiction in the general market.

I LOVED Gina! Burney really made my heart go out to that character. And Anthony Priest was somebody you could really pull for his wounds go so deep. (The wounds in this story are about what he had to go through too.) I felt so torn for these people and just pulled for them.

Read the book if you like the unusual, speculative fiction, fantasy, anything that you don't mind stretching your imagination.

Go Claudia!

Deena Peterson said...

Thanks for expressing your different take on this so kindly. This is the type of dialog that is encouraged at My Bookshelf. I appreciate you:-)