BEYOND AWKWARD SIDE HUGS
by Bronwyn Lea
Foreword by Christine Caine
Non-Fiction / Religious / Self-Help
Note: This book addresses the issue of men and women relationships, and how they can work in a Christian setting. It hits not only upon situations relating to married adults but also addresses the entire issues of dating and relationships outside of this entire 'sexual' sphere. It is appropriate for older teens.
While traditional Christians are brought up with the idea that certain activities are only allowed after marriage, the author of this book takes a look beyond that narrow definition of relationships between male and females and recognizes that marriage is not the only, tight box of life. Men and women engage in other ways as well.
She starts by describing the various forms of relationships and love before discussing the various situations in which men and women interact...many of these having nothing to do with the more sensual relationships, which first pop into the head when a man, women relationship is mentioned. She continues to slide through dating, marriage, being single, friendship, neighbor relationships, work relationships, and so on, using scripture as well as true experiences to make her point.
I'm not a huge fan of relationship literature and was a bit skeptical when I received this one, but the author does a lovely job of discussing an often overseen theme. The book does take the stance that intimacy before marriage is not appropriate, but that's the only 'rule' it sticks to and isn't the main theme, anyway. The intentions of this book are to open up the notion that there is more to men and women than physical intimacy. This isn't a book about wrong or right or even trying to preach about how life should be lived. Rather, it takes apart the narrow views of gender relationships in general. The use of Bible verses grounds the religious aspects, but most of the thoughts are explained through usual life situations.
The themes and points are delivered in a laid back manner, but this still isn't a read to breeze through. Each point is thoroughly discussed and explained using several directions. In other words, readers will need to put on their thinking caps and following the arguments. But these aren't difficult to understand. The entire thing comes across logically and without pressure, making it a well-done read.