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The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers
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The Atonement Child (1997)

by Francine Rivers

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This book is a wonderful, powerful contribution to understanding the sanctity of the God given life.
  Indiancreek | Jan 3, 2018 |
I'm impressed that a popular Christian author would be bold enough to write about a subject like this. At the time that this book was published, she was already well-known and could have chosen to stick to less controversial topics to avoid offending the masses and losing her broad support base. The fact that she chose to write a novel tackling rape and abortion from a pro-life stance is admirable and demonstrates the prioritising of Christian values in her profession as a writer. One might assume that all Christian writers would do this, but sadly that is not the case as many have sacrificed and compromised to entertain or avoid being controversial. Indeed, those who don't like this book have focused on the overt pro-life stance and the fact that it is "overly preachy." But maybe that is what is needed in a day when Christian compromise is the norm and thorny issues are avoided.

The story itself is well told and believable. Dynah is heading for the American Christian dream--pretty, popular, doing well at school, prospective pastor boyfriend etc. All of this is shattered by rape when she is walking home alone one night. The resulting pregnancy exposes the hypocrisy of the mostly Christians around her who in their different ways begin pushing her towards having an abortion. After all, her circumstances are exceptional and surely God would understand.....

Dynah's dilemma opens up deep wounds in her own family as well as in the lives of those performing the abortions in the clinics. Although some of the dialogue and scenes were a little predictable, I liked that the author touched on the fact that abortion can effect every person involved for a very long time, some may never get over the trauma or physical consequences. I wasn't sure about the supposed link between abortion and increased chance of breast cancer but it wouldn't surprise me if it was proven one day.

The obvious message of the book is that every life is precious to God and created by Him in the womb, regardless the circumstance. That He can redeem any situation and bring peace to those that believe it is impossible. I liked that Rivers chose to focus on moving forward rather than dwelling on the act of rape itself or of the attempts to identify and bring the offender to justice. The book carries the pro-life message but shows how difficult it might be to take that stance when someone is seemingly alone with their life-changing decisions. However, Rivers makes it clear that the person doesn't have to be alone--God is always present and waiting for the cry of help from a repentant soul.

This book is not suitable for children and may disturb some sensitive readers. Although the rape itself is not detailed, some details of the abortion procedures are mentioned. There is no bad language and no graphic violence. I note that some readers felt that the psychological trauma of the rape itself had not been considered and that the story followed a kind-of predictable happy-ever-after pattern. I don't agree with this. The aftermath struggles that the main character faces are traumatic and make the important point that all of us need to learn to trust God completely. She struggles with guilt, shame and questions why God allowed the experience which shattered her perfect life....that is not unrealistic nor is it a cliche. If Rivers had introduced too much psychological trauma it would have made the book more graphic and would have changed the focus from God's plan of redemption to the crime, victim and criminal. The reality is that all of us are broken through sin--sin in our own lives and the sin of others against us--the focus needs always to be on God and the price that has already been paid by Jesus on the cross for our sin.

Although not perfect, I rate this highly and hope it will influence those considering abortions, those working in the clinics/hospitals, those providing funding for services and most importantly, those counseling people dealing with choices they have made in the past and the consequences of them.



( )
  sparkleandchico | Jun 2, 2017 |
I'm inclined to read anything by Rivers. While I'm partial to her Redeeming Love and the Mark of the Lion Trilogy, I haven't been disappointed by any of her other work. This was not exception. Although I found The Atonement Child a bit clichéd, a bit happily-ever-after, and a bit preachy, overall, I enjoyed this work. Rivers tackled a controversial subject - rape, abortion and the church's response. I thought she did an excellent job writing about this, saying what she believes, but not doing so in an abrasive manner. Her characters, while a bit shallow, struggled with real issues - God's forgiveness, mercy, judgement and family. I thought the resolution was a bit predictable and clichéd and convenient, but it ended the way a book should ( )
1 vote empress8411 | Feb 15, 2017 |
This book.. sigh! I've read it 3 times

It is the definition of FAITH being tested like seriously... RAPE, PREGNANCY ABORTION & SUICIDE.

It's literally God telling you to trust him, without question cos the plans he has for you are to help you not hurt.. It's questioning your faith and in a way that most people would definitely fail, taking the easy way out and asking for forgiveness and doing the wrong this and praying for understanding.

Her parents were in born again, Her fiance, her school they all claimed to served God, but where was that love that God asked us to have for our neighbors, where was the understanding. It shows that teaching the word and living the word are to significantly different things, because the people claiming to do so FAIL so abysmally!

There are so many highlighted passage in this book, because honestly...

This book made me cry for Dynah cos you remember as a christian you claim to worship him but follow the rules that suit, but she didn't, she didn't take the way out everyone said God would understand, because she knew he would but she also knew it was what he wanted. I can't even imagine what she felt but following the still voice OMG! Made me ask for grace to follow too!

Abortion in this book is addressed in a way I can respect, for non Christians it may seem judgmental but being christian and also a student of ethic and philosophy I can remove the God from it, and look at it logically, Rivers wants to show that abortion has side effects that are far from physical and although I'm not into scare tactics Christianity or evangelism, I legit think girls old enough to make choices should read it.

I'd definitely recommend this book. ( )
  diidi92 | Nov 22, 2016 |
This book.. sigh! I've read it 3 times

It is the definition of FAITH being tested like seriously... RAPE, PREGNANCY ABORTION & SUICIDE.

It's literally God telling you to trust him, without question cos the plans he has for you are to help you not hurt.. It's questioning your faith and in a way that most people would definitely fail, taking the easy way out and asking for forgiveness and doing the wrong this and praying for understanding.

Her parents were in born again, Her fiance, her school they all claimed to served God, but where was that love that God asked us to have for our neighbors, where was the understanding. It shows that teaching the word and living the word are to significantly different things, because the people claiming to do so FAIL so abysmally!

There are so many highlighted passage in this book, because honestly...

This book made me cry for Dynah cos you remember as a christian you claim to worship him but follow the rules that suit, but she didn't, she didn't take the way out everyone said God would understand, because she knew he would but she also knew it was what he wanted. I can't even imagine what she felt but following the still voice OMG! Made me ask for grace to follow too!

Abortion in this book is addressed in a way I can respect, for non Christians it may seem judgmental but being christian and also a student of ethic and philosophy I can remove the God from it, and look at it logically, Rivers wants to show that abortion has side effects that are far from physical and although I'm not into scare tactics Christianity or evangelism, I legit think girls old enough to make choices should read it.

I'd definitely recommend this book. ( )
  diidi92 | Nov 22, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Come to me, all of you who are weary
and carry heavy burdens, and I will
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.
Let me teach you, because I am humble
and gentle, and you will find rest
for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly,
and the burden I give you is light.
MATTHEW 11:28-30
Dedication
To all those who live
with the anguish of abortion,
and to their families
who suffer with them
in secret and in silence.
First words
Es passierte in einer kalten Januarnacht.

It was a cold January night when the unthinkable, unpardonable happened.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 084230052X, Paperback)

A beautiful repackaged edition of Francine Rivers's classic novel that breaks through the many taboos surrounding abortion. In one terrifying moment, Dynah Carey's perfect life is shattered by rape, her future irrevocably altered by an unwanted pregnancy, and her doting family torn apart. Her seemingly rock-solid faith is pushed to the limits as she faces the most momentous choice of her life--to embrace or to end the untimely life within her. This new edition includes discussion questions for individual or group use.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:07 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When Dynah Carey's life is shattered by rape and the subsequent pregnancy, her faith in God is put to the test when she must decide whether to have an abortion or not.

» see all 4 descriptions

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