A dating guide that will enlighten, encourage, and instruct Christian readers.




Debut author Johnson explores the history of courtship and romance, condemns modern dating culture, and offers a Christian alternative.

Dating can be a complicated and often brutal affair. According to Johnson, a self-described “scientist by profession and…philosopher at heart,” one reason for this is because of rampant selfishness on the parts of many of the participants: “We shop around for relationships in…a ‘meet market,’ with one eye on what we want and the other on what we think we can realistically get.” The author paints a grim picture of contemporary dating, offering well-supported, annotated criticisms and drawing on the research of social scientists, such as Dorothy Holland and Margaret Eisenhart. He then takes a step back and explores the history of romance in the Bible and through the last several centuries. Finally, the book wraps up with the author’s practical advice on how to date in a way that’s consistent with Christian principles, including how to stay “Sexually Pure.” Johnson’s main premise is that romantic relationships, like platonic ones, should follow two great commandments of the New Testament: “We are to love God, and we are to love our neighbor.” So instead of being caught up in the fickleness of romance, he asserts, couples should seek to build their relationships on a solid foundation of friendship. By doing so, they may avoid many pitfalls of the dominant dating culture. Johnson’s prose is polished, powerful, and to-the-point. His observations about the defects of the current dating scene are spot-on, and his faith-based ideas on how to mitigate them are clear and well defined. The historical section, however, doesn’t fit as neatly into the book; although it’s engaging and educational, it seems more suited to history buffs or social science students than to young Christian readers eager to thrive in the dating realm. For the latter, the author includes thought-provoking reflection questions at the end of each chapter, which adds great value to the book.

A dating guide that will enlighten, encourage, and instruct Christian readers.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73250-840-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: FaithReasonCulture Press

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2019

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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