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The Songs That Could Have Been by Amanda Wen

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book. These are my honest thoughts.

It shouldn’t have taken me nearly a month to get to page 114. Every time I picked up this book, I quickly lost interest. I couldn’t really figure out why at first. It took chatting it out with a friend to sort out why my attention was getting lost so much. That’s because I’m rarely bored by a book, so it takes me a bit to catch up with that ideal when it happens.

The cover of this book was absolutely beautiful and drew my attention right away. The blurb sounded right up my alley.

Yet, the blurb fell far short of properly foreshadowing the content of the story beneath the cover. Once again, I’ve closed a Kregel book early because of this irritating feeling of being deceived into reading a book I wouldn’t have chosen had I had more accurate information in the blurb to make a better educated decision in my leisure reading.

This book felt racist in a time when color is all a lot of people are seeing. Honestly, y’all, I don’t understand this hyper-focus on color when people are so much more complex and beautiful than just their skin (although there are loads of gorgeous skin tones out there to show off God’s full color palette). I’m so tired of this destructive rhetoric that only drives people apart instead of pulling a community together. We have enough division; it’s time we choose to unite in kindness.

On top of that, one “color” church was reduced to a “history class with hymns,” while another “color” church was hyped up to be like a “football game.” Neither of those descriptions is accurate to the churches I’ve attended, and neither felt respectful or reverent to God. This was very disheartening to me.

The one aspect I was really enjoying and hated to give up on was the modern-day Rosie scenes. Seeing her lose her memory was heartbreaking, but it felt like the most realistic aspect of the entire story through page 114.

There were other little things that bugged me, but the reason I gave up on this book was that there was something about it that I couldn’t pin down that rubbed me the wrong way from the beginning. That feeling never left.

Content: racism, crude sexual terms (excessive), replacement expletives, unnecessary mention of sexual perversion, tobacco, alcohol, teen sex mentioned, “Goddess” as a nickname, Catholicism, replacement profanity, one profane phrase


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