Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Review

Heroes come in many shapes and sizes. Dragons come in even more. Fantasy fiction is an extremely popular genre among young (and not-so-young) readers today. Parents may be concerned about the value of some of the fantasy literature their kids are reading, but not know how to determine said value. Enter Andrew Boll’s The Hero and the Dragon: Building Christian Character through Fantasy Fiction. Andrew neatly weaves together many of the elements commonly found in fantasy fiction and discusses them in relation to aspects of a Christian’s life. He also demonstrates how the elements may help build upon the foundation of the Gospel or how those same elements, in another author’s hands, can tear that foundation down.
Andrew starts with a chapter that students who have taken his Introduction to Literature class will recognize: “The Hero’s Journey.” Nearly every adventure story or epic quest will feature some, if not all, of the steps outlined in this chapter. While I was reading through this chapter, I found myself thinking of Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, and many other stories I’ve read in my life. Andrew references a lot of classical literature such as The Odyssey and King Arthur, as well as contemporary works like Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Star Wars. Readers will enjoy remembering a favorite hero or heroine’s journey while reading this chapter.
The rest of the book is devoted to common themes or elements found in fantasy fiction. Are you worried about your child reading stories of “magic” or “wizards” or “vampires?” These chapters will guide you in figuring out if a particular story will be damaging or uplifting.
Of course, since we are all on our own journeys, Andrew points out how goblins, elves, pixies, and zombies exist in our own world, and how to wield the Sword (that is, the Word of God) to defeat our own dragons. You’ll find ways to seek the light, even when the way seems dark.
The Hero and the Dragon: Building Christian Character through Fantasy Fiction by Andrew Boll is available for purchase at Cannon Valley Lutheran High School in Morristown, Minnesota. The print book is $19.95+tax, and the ebook is $9.95. Andrew will donate $2 for each book sold at CVLHS to the school. You may also purchase the book through Andrew’s website and blog,

Of the Electric Slide, Macarena, and Other Party Dances

The CVLHS prom was this past weekend. Since Claire and Natalie were on a visit with their dad, I got to help chaperone. Boy, was it fun, for a laundry list of reasons.

1. I got to wear the black and gold bridesmaid dress I wore for Andy and Christine's wedding in 2009. Not only am I no longer nursing a baby, I've lost a bit more weight than when I wore the dress then, so it fit me much better. Also, I had no idea the dress was so beautiful. At the time I wore it, I was still grouchy at the obnoxious saleslady at the bridal shop for complaining that it didn't fit me (never mind the whole 14-weeks-postpartum-and-nursing-a-newborn thing). Also, I was 14 weeks postpartum and nursing a newborn, so putting on a formal dress, complete with spanx, strapless bra (HAHAHAHAHAHA), pantyhose, and heels was absurd. Then add a cranky 2 1/2 year old daughter and (now ex) husband just back from military duty and in the full throes of his PTSD who had to rent a tux and be an usher, and it's no wonder that I have limited memories of that day. Well, I ROCKED that dress on Saturday night.
2. I got to dance my feet off and not care how I looked. That's the great thing about helping at a school event. You can look dorky and NO ONE CARES!
3. I remembered the Macarena. Oddly, everyone expected that I would know this dance. And I did. Even though the last time I danced it was around 15 years ago.
4. I taught the crowd the Electric Slide.
5. I got a hat (that matched my dress perfectly, BTW), a Tshirt, a keychain, an enormous glass mug, and a free picture of myself and Hannah, the math teacher, who also looked fabulous in her formal dress.
6. I helped Hannah at the post-prom party with the games and prizes, and realized how nice it is to have a best girlfriend who seeks your friendship, help, and opinions, and tells you that you're valued.

Yup. I had a great time at prom.