3 out of 4 stars
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Poised Pain is a memoir and Christian self-help book by Dionne Yvette Peterson-Bingham. The author speculates on how being molested repeatedly by a family friend as a child shaped her life and led her to make certain choices that she now regrets. The author is unflinchingly honest in her assessments of her own actions. She also shares the positive changes that she has made and advises readers who may also be struggling with past trauma on ways to bring positive changes into their own lives with God’s help.
I give Poised Pain three out of four stars. The author is an intelligent person and a naturally eloquent writer, but I am not sure that the book was professionally edited. There are not many misspelled words or typos, but the author repeats the same concepts multiple times throughout the book with very little change in wording, and this is an issue where I believe a professional editor would suggest being concise so that the reader does not lose interest. I think that a professional editor would also have advised choosing one adjective or another on sentences such as the following:
“I have always constantly sought ways to better myself and those around me.”
These issues did not detract greatly from my overall appreciation of the book. The thing I liked best about Poised Pain was the author’s forthrightness in revealing her personal struggles and her desire to do better things, both in terms of her own self-improvement and in terms of her desire to help others. Her integrity is evident.
The thing that I disliked most about the book is the author’s statement that:
“Many victims of sexual abuse turn to many negative vices including homosexuality, indignant promiscuity, pole dancing, or even abusing others.”
I cannot abide the idea that homosexuality is a “vice.” It is simply a sexual orientation, and I believe that the author is doing a great disservice to any gay man or lesbian who might otherwise benefit from her words, only to have their sexual orientation dismissed as a “vice.” I almost rated the book two out of four stars because of my exception to this assertion.
The idea that homosexuality is a “choice” or a “sin” is one of the major reasons that I broke away from the church when I was eighteen years old. I am heterosexual, but I could not abide people being treated like pariahs for their sexual orientation.
I also disagree with the statement that “pole dancing” is a “vice.” I do not believe that “sex work is work,” as seems to be the hip thing to believe currently. What I do know is that many women end up working in prostitution, pornography, or jobs such as exotic dancing because they are unable to earn enough money to pay their bills in other professions. Many but not all women in these professions have been abused and have issues with addiction. This is too complex a situation for it to be dismissed as a “vice” or seen as a simple choice.
I would recommend this book for individuals who may be wishing to deal with past trauma and who desire a Christian approach to their situation. The book contains no strong profanity or explicit descriptions of sex acts or violence, but it is, nonetheless, inappropriate for children. Due to the author’s beliefs about homosexuality, I would recommend that gay and lesbian readers avoid this book as well.
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