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Wounded: A Love Story

A book by Claudia Mair Burney

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Wounded for Beauty

  • Jan 12, 2011
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Wounded is primarily the story of Gina Merritt a young single mother. She struggles to make ends meet, but she has a strong faith. At a church service for Ash Wednesday, she receives a special vision from God and her palm starts to bleed. This is known as stigmata and it's the first time I've ever read about it, and that aspect alone was fascinating to me. Anthony Priest, a drug addicted journalist is sitting next to her when this happens and a special connection is forged between them.

Gina continues to receive the visions and the wounds and Wounded is the story of how she and the people in her life come to terms with this happening. 

I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. It stayed with me as I read, and long after. It's my favorite kind of book, one that grapples with faith on a very deep level. The characters were realistic and deeply flawed. You wouldn't look to them as models of how to act as a perfect Christian but even so their faith was touching. 

I think Burney accomplished several things with this novel and asked many excellent questions of her readers. This book is about suffering and the role it plays in our lives and also the degree of suffering we're willing to endure to experience intimacy with Christ. It also really forced me to look hard at my prejudices. Gina is mentally ill and therefore people like her pastor wouldn't believe the stigmata was a gift from God but rather a manifestation of her illness. Priest as a junkie is the last person many of us would trust in this situation, but it reminded me my wisdom is not the wisdom of God. I like that she brought together an unlikely group of people in her story and that in many ways she flipped the tables and exposed man made righteousness for what it is.

Gina compares her intimacy with God to a marriage bed. I really loved this, though it was something that really divided our group when we read it. I think the idea of Jesus as our bridegroom is something we sing about in church to happy songs, but we rarely explore the actual depth of intimacy that it suggests. And Wounded raises the idea that the path to that sort of intimacy with God is through suffering.

Burney has given us a compelling story told from multiple viewpoints with multi-faceted and complex characters. It's a searing examination of faith, how we react when confronted with a miracle, the kind of spiritual manipulation that can happen from seemingly faithful folk, identity and race, and the role of suffering in the life of the believer. It pushes the envelope for Christian fiction in almost every way, and it's a book I won't soon forget. In fact, I think it's the kind of book that has made me a better person for having read it.

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January 12, 2011
I would say that Wounded was one of my favorite books that I read last year. It is one of the few books that I enjoyed rereading. I have to commend the publisher for the cover they chose for the book. I hardly ever see a book cover that has a minority featured on it.
January 12, 2011
I find this interview very interesting because of the cross relation between the stigmata and the mental-illness. I really like to read books that feature mental-illness in because they somehow give such a different perspective on these types of things than academic books do. That being said, another thing that draws me to the book is the fact that it deals so deeply with religious issues. Too many of the Christian fiction books that I read just seem to be skimming the surface and sometimes get too preachy. This book sounds a little more meaty and like something that I would definitely like to read, so thanks for the very penetrating review and thoughts!
More Wounded: A Love Story reviews
review by . March 12, 2010
Stigmata scares me. Well anything with blood pouring unnaturally out of orifices from your body will make me gag. Put that together with faith revelation that will shake your beliefs and you got one heck out of a story. That's exactly what Wounded contains and boy does it make your head spin while reading (and not in a Exorcist type of way). The characters in the book, to be honest, are not very likable. It's hard to connect with any of them because you're not quite sure really what to think. Everyone …
review by . September 10, 2008
Wounded is a challenging novel. Personally challenging in what will I, an evangelical Christian who has concerns about Catholic doctrines, do with a book that is very much about saints, stigmata and Christ's wounds? For starters, I won't recommend it to anyone who is confused about Mary worship vs. Christ worship. Can I recommend it to those who are mature enough in their walk with Christ that they know His words and His heart? Yes I can, because a person who is mature is going to be able to discern …
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Amy Riley ()
Ranked #789
I'm a thirty-something who loves books and story. I love the way art and story can profoundly affect us and change us while also entertaining us and moving us.      I love the … more
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Burney's offbeat story, which explores what it might mean to literally share in Christ's suffering, demonstrates an edginess that both attracts and repels. Burney's protagonist, Regina Gina Dolores Merritt, is a 24-year-old black, health-conscious, bipolar, once suicidal single mom with fibromyalgia and migraines and a history of mental illness. It's a lot to put on one character. When she appears to receive the stigmata on Ash Wednesday at her Vineyard Church in Ann Arbor, Mich. (perhaps based on real-life pastor Ken Wilson and his church), a circus of sorts ensues. Druggie Anthony Priest shows up to help, as does Priest's alienated mother, Veronica Morelli. Events catapult toward an unexpected conclusion. Burney pushes the boundaries for her faith fiction audience sexually, especially in references to Christ as lover. The multiple first-person perspectives work well, but stories about saints seem inserted rather than integral, and a few characters feel overdrawn. However, Burney's unusual voice, gritty themes, and ecumenical blending should help this uninhibited novel find a home, especially with emergent church readers.(Sept.)
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ISBN-10: 1434799387
ISBN-13: 978-1434799388
Author: Claudia Mair Burney
Publisher: David C. Cook

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