Thursday, May 20, 2010

17. MARY CALLED MAGDALENE - Margaret George

While the Bible barely mentions Mary Magdalene, the "prostitute" who followed Jesus (there is no evidence that proves that was her profession), there are many churches devoted to her teachings as one of the prophets. She walked with Jesus and earned the title, "Apostle of the Apostles" by seeing visions of his fall and being the first to witness his rising from the dead through her faith.

However, who was Mary? The author uses carefully researched details to piece together a fictional account of a woman. Like Helen of Troy or other mythological women, it is fictional, but she brings much of it to life through Mary's actions.

How is this book different from Margaret George's other books? There is no man involved, other than Jesus. Without a romantic love conflict, there is no source of weakness for her main character, which I found absolutely refreshing. I've read several of George's books, and my main complaint has been that each character could be substituted for each other: Cleopatra for Helen for Mary of Scots. This Mary is bold when she should be floored with self-pity. This Mary leads rather than follows.

I liked the change in characterization, just as I liked the new approach of characterizing Jesus. He is not romanticized. In fact, he seems to go mad at times. Wouldn't you? It seemed to be a modern, realistic way of looking at how the Romans ruled, as well as how people treat one another.

Whether you are Christian or not, it is a fascinating look at a character in history, and I am not referring to the one who will judge the living and the dead.

4.0 out of 5.0 Simple Mary.

Comments from readers

"If u r goin to rite a blog, rite a blog."

"Are you OK? Because I already mailed the ARC." (You know who you are... this made me laugh. Writers are so cheap! We covet our measly allowance of books for personal marketing purposes. What, you think the publishers just give these books away like hot cakes? Please.)

"I never received my book, and you have not updated your Facebook group. Is this for real?"

"Why do you ignore me? Read Sookie. Enough of the historical fiction. Whose [sic] telling you to read that??"

I thank you for your concern. It has been a surreal few months, but I finished my first draft of my book and am letting her sit for a little while and rest. She and I will meet again soon, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, I hope to have more time to read this summer, whether on porches or in hammocks, in cars or by soccer fields ("Go team!"). Please forgive me while I catch up on the reading requests... you have not been forgotten. In fact, this has been such a positive experience that I plan to expand it and make it even more interactive next year... but you will have to wait for that.