The Girl Who Risked Everything For A Broken Face
This is a very short book, but I feel like I’m going to give a very long review—for some reason that always happens, doesn’t it? Let me be honest right here and now; I did not enjoy reading this book, but I do believe it has potential to become better. This review may seem harsh, but I promise my honesty is not without reason and I do hope this author doesn’t take my criticism to heart but instead sees them as inspiration to continue improving his/her skills as a writer.
The first thing you need to know about this book is that it is a fictional memoir. Sounds funny, right? It’s a collection of diary entries from a girl whose username is VirginMojito37—we’ll call her Moji for short.
Moji invites us into her life as she retells some of the most painful parts of her past with spiritual scriptures and references sprinkled throughout. We begin with Moji’s sad love life; she’s a 37-year-old virgin (very nice play on her name) who enjoys virgin mojitos and is looking for a man who will love her personality before loving her body; to find this man, Moji decides she will date online.
The first—and biggest—complaint about this story is the main character. Moji is annoying on so many different levels; she begins her memoir with her love life, repeatedly beating us over the head with the fact that she’s a virgin and all men are dirty dogs—which they are not, by the way. Not every man, Christian or otherwise, is as perverted as the men portrayed in this book are. Sometimes reading through this made me feel like it was written by someone who has a very poor stereotyped idea of what happens in Christian dating. As a 25-year-old Christian female who also practices abstinence, I can personally testify against this book and its description of the dating realm. Not all men are after sex, some are!—that’s the truth—but not all. And not all non-Christian men are perverted and disrespectful of Christian beliefs and standards regarding sex and physicality in the relationship.
It seemed like every man Moji bumped into, online or otherwise, was a horribly perverted and foul human being. Time after time, for 37 years—apparently, Moji met men who didn’t treat her the way she wanted to be treated, yet she did nothing to try and change her approach. If you want men to respect your beliefs, your body, and the fact that you’re a 37-year-old virgin, then why on earth would you name and present yourself as VirginMojito37??? Not only did you name yourself after an alcoholic drink, but you did it after one that makes you sound like a cheap stripper. But wait, the drink is VIRGIN.
It doesn’t matter! NOBODY is going to see the username VirginMojito37 and think, man…this is probably the most easygoing and righteous Christian girl online. NOBODY. I promise you.
Issue number two: Moji constantly goes against her own advice. After going against a friend’s advice and agreeing to develop a serious relationship with someone she’d only met in person three times, Moji turns around and says to readers: don’t make snap decisions when dating—excuse me, what? You just did that! On top of that, she constantly reminds us how devoutly Christian she is but does nothing even remotely Christian except quote Bible verses to us—Bible verses that she apparently never uses in her own life because she never prays for a mate, never asks God to send her the right man, never even considers dating Christian men but CONSTANTLY complains about how men do not have much respect for her beliefs or her standards. I should also mention that HALF of this book is quotes from the Holy Bible or some other source. We understand that you spend a lot of time in devotion to the Lord; I’m Christian, I get that more than anyone! But you don’t need to copy and paste your literal Bible study notes into the book. After a few pages’ worth of pasted scriptures, it begins to feel like filler information.
Ok… I should be fair about this. Maybe Moji is very indecisive and makes bad decisions because she’s confused about her faith. She’s a girl who has been sheltered for most of her life and discouraged from studying or reading anything that’s deemed as unholy. While I am Christian myself, I was not sheltered and was not raised in such unnecessarily strict conditions. So, part of me can understand her convictions but there is another part that still disagrees with her manner. Moji is confused and trying to understand herself and her faith, but that doesn’t excuse all the complaining.
After the dating scene, we are introduced to Moji’s past where she constantly whines and moans about feeling ugly, unwanted, and rejected by everyone. She describes herself as being very thin but having large boobs that she’s never really comfortable with. Aside from this, Moji was born with a defect in her jaw that caused pain to her gums and slightly deformed her face at second glance. Despite all this, she was given many compliments in her teen years and was encouraged to embrace all her quirks. Moji eventually makes the decision to have serious surgeries done on her face and jaw to correct her deformity, but this procedure doesn’t happen until after she’s done rambling for two-dozen pages about her self-confidence and the poor image she developed of herself.
While I understand Moji had a difficult upbringing, I found it incredibly tough to have any sort of sympathy for her. Feeling sorry for someone is not the angle I enjoy reading from. I hate reading through sob stories. Period. Because I can’t stand being forced to spend pages and pages walking through someone’s unfortunate shoes when a quick fix or simple solution was available all along. Why spend twenty pages crying about an issue and only one solving it? I would much rather read an entire book about how Moji was able to stand on her own two feet than the two-dozen pages about how she crawled through her life that—honestly—wasn’t so bad.
Well…Vay, maybe the point of the story is to show what Moji experienced in her life and give her hope for her future? Maybe that’s right! If that’s the case, I simply didn’t enjoy it. I do not like reading through sob stories, especially ones that could have easily been resolved and seem not to have a purpose outside of making readers feel bad for them.
My last complaint is that there is no coherence or order to this story. One minute we are talking about Moji’s love life and the next we’ve jumped to her career then her college studies then what she studies in the Bible. We go over mathematical equations, discuss having best friends, and then we talk about Moji’s weight. We changed topics with no clear reason so many times it made me think…what am I reading? But even more importantly, why am I reading this? What is this story about?
I have no idea.
There is no clear plot or purpose to anything I read. Is it about Moji’s love life? Is it about Moji challenging her faith? Is it about Moji’s difficult past? Is it about Moji’s health and surgical procedures? Maybe her career? Maybe her life as a middle-aged Christian woman living alone and trying to find her place and purpose in this world?
I don’t know!
Any one of those topics I just listed could have been the focus of this memoir, instead each one of them was crammed into this tiny, short, little book with no development or progression beyond a mere introduction before moving on to the next underdeveloped plotline. If this book had been fleshed out, organized, and maybe had less quotes, complaints, and stereotypes, I think it would be a much better book.
Now, I know I was very harsh in this review, but I have a code of honesty. As a Christian writer and reviewer, I believe it is incredibly important that other Christian authors present the very best version of their work they can possibly offer. The Christian literary realm is small … We need better fiction, we need better fantasy, we need better quality books if we hope to expand beyond non-fiction. This book is a good idea, but it has so much more room for growth and I think if this author takes the time to fully rework and rethink this piece, in time, it will certainly become the wonderful work readers deserve.