As part of the B&H Bloggers program, I received a free copy Candace Cameron Bure’s latest book. I spent no less than three days laughing every time I saw it on the coffee table, which is where I thought it might have to remain. I could not in good faith review a book that was the farthest thing for me to reach for, even within the genre of spiritual memoir which is my fave. It just wouldn’t be fair. A good book reviewer will be able to separate the person from the author’s voice; to reserve critique for the author’s character from the author’s content.
I have very little against Candace Cameron Bure. I have listened to her talk at Liberty University. I appreciate the principles upon which she is unwavering as she makes decisions for her career and family. I just don’t think she is exceptionally talented as an actress or inspirational speaker. I didn’t have high hopes for her writing, though I give her credit for letting her co-author Erin Davis have a proper byline. (Ghostwriters get such a bum deal.) Most importantly, though, I was completely prejudiced against the premise of this book. I don’t watch “Dancing with the Stars” which the writer uses as the framework for the events of this memoir, drawing spiritual insights from her time preparing for and performing on this reality TV show. The fact that Bure got a book deal out of a quasi-celebrity TV appearance seemed like–well, I think Uncle Joey’s reaction is apt: Cut. It. Out.
Curiosity got the better of me, though. And you know what? This book is actually pretty substantive. The tone is sincere throughout. Bure clearly cares about the way she comports herself on and off camera. She took her role on the show very seriously and examined every decision through the prism of how she would be representing herself as a godly woman. There are moments that are really inspiring, like how she shares her and her husband Val’s discussion about performing the seductive rumba and the implications for her as a daughter of Christ. The discussion on modesty was comprehensive and not pious. It was accessible, drawing from Proverbs, Psalms, and many parts of the New Testament. I think on these merits alone, the book is worth buying for a young person who is navigating the murky waters on modesty.
Still, the writing is pretty painful at times. In certain moments, it’s as if DJ Tanner is writing the copy. There are sentences like, “Betcha didn’t know that dancing could be such serious business!” Ay. Where is Kimmy Gibbler because we need some comic relief. Moreover, the premise is overall still vomitous. There is a lot of attention paid to social media reactions and the book is written with the assumption that the reader cared deeply about the show and about Bure’s competitive edge. If you have a rabid DWTS fan in your house, this book might be for him or her. However, the spiritual insights within the framework of one season of one show was just not enough for a solid story skeleton. A book like Devon Franklin’s “Produced by Faith” does a much better job using show business as a metaphor wherein the spiritual life is examined.
Bure’s book can probably be read in about a week and is available in paperback.
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