Monday, September 26, 2011

BookCrash Review: Deliver Me Edited by Dianne E. Butts

Deliver Me: Hope, Help, and Healing through True Stories of Unplanned Pregnancy
Compiled and edited by Dianne E. Butts
© 2011 by Dianne E. Butts
Published by Connections Press Pueblo, Colorado

Deliver Me
is a compilation of short stories and essays in 235 pages and nine chapters. The book explores the decisions and choices of real women who faced unplanned pregnancies. It offers over 50 stories from women and men who faced questions concerning abortion, adoption, keeping their baby, facing family and society, as well as letters and essays written by husbands, partners, and family members affected by unplanned pregnancy. The work offers hope and encouragement to women (and men) who are struggling with unplanned pregnancy as well as healing and encouragement to readers whose experience is in the past.

The chapters in this book cover questions including who faces unplanned pregnancy, the concerns of her family, and who can help these women find options. The book also discusses issues including abortion, adoption, how to help women who choose to keep their baby, the affect of abortion on men, learning from women and families who have experienced abortion, and how to reach out to those in need.

Deliver Me is a relevant work that offers personal and real stories of women and men struggling with the choices surrounding unplanned pregnancy. The work offers current data and statistics surrounding the topics addressed and conveniently organizes the statistics within the appropriate chapters. The end of each chapter offers resources for readers who wish to follow up or learn more about particular topics or find solutions and help in their own situation.

The work offers a valuable and legitimate chapter concerning men and their role in the issues considered in this book. The essays are written by men who supported the choice of abortion, those who said they would support any decision made by their partner (thereby relinquishing themselves from the responsibility of choosing), and men who opposed the option of abortion. One contributor observes that while statistics indicate that one in three women in the church has had an abortion "women didn't do this all by themselves [and] one in three men in the church are post-abortive as well." He writes that "men seem invisible in this issue" and indicates that while the emphasis is usually on "getting to the women to save he babies" there should also be focus toward saving men and women from the regret that often follows abortion (p.96).

In addition to chapters devoted to relevant information, resources, and statistics, the work also offers several pages of notes and sources as well as brief biographies of individual contributors. These two sections lend credibility to the work and extinguish any skepticism regarding the validity and authenticity of the stories within the book. A unique feature of this book is a chapter specifically dedicated to educating readers about the role of crisis pregnancy centers. The chapter goes beyond describing the pregnancy-related work of these centers and illustrates that they also assist women who are struggling with abusive relationships, parenting issues, post-abortion recovery, and sexual abuse recovery.

Although this book has a great deal to offer readers, it falls short in a few areas. One of it's most glaring shortcomings is its relatively narrow target audience. A story about a grandmother struggling with her daughter's pregnancy with a biracial child could have been edited for content to appeal to a wider range of readers. While the story illustrates God's love, forgiveness, and power to change hearts, readers who are new in their faith, or who do not share the editor's faith, may find the story distasteful and offensive rather than heartwarming.

Some further editing would have helped to clarify a few of the stories in the book as some contributors seem to drift from their topics while sharing their experiences. Other contributors use rather dated lingo including words such as "cyberspace" (p.168) within their narratives that could probably be edited as well.

Additionally, the book's format lacks aesthetic value. The individual stories within the chapters do not flow well from page to page and would be more pleasing to look at if they were spaced out a little bit differently rather than just continuing from one page onto the next. The cover and graphics also appear to be somewhat dated and this looks more like a paperback from the 1990s than a recently published book.

This book would be complimented by a corresponding website that offers up-to-date links to the resources listed in the book. A website offering this type of information would be more user friendly, save readers from typing in long and cumbersome web addresses and would also keep the book current and allow for updates to resource information.

Overall this book is an excellent resource for anyone involved in an unplanned pregnancy including pregnant women, their partners, parents, grandparents, friends, family, and those involved in the work of crisis pregnancy centers. It allows readers to explore the experiences of others who have faced unplanned pregnancy and offers resources for those searching for answers to their questions. This book would also be an excellent piece of literature for those who are undecided on their position on abortion as it speaks to the human impact of the issue rather than just the political.

I received this book from the publisher through the BookCrash program at no charge in exchange for this review.

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