Books

A Book Review of The Journal of Ben Uchida

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Journal of Ben Uchida Citizen 13559 Mirror Lake Internment Camp by Barry Denenberg

Type: Children’s Series, Diary, Historical Fiction

Basic Plot: Ben Uchida and his family are put into an internment camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: The story was interesting, though a little predictable in some ways. It was a little unsatisfying in some ways, as it lacked some of the details it could have had, and there were no real dynamic content. Characters were also lacking in dynamics.

Writing Style and Setup: 2½/5 Below Average: The style was more childish and simple than some other styles of Dear America diaries. It was also more cynical and critical in spirit.

Moral: 1/5 Bad Role Models: Ben Uchida and his friends are all terrible role models. Ben is cynical, angry-spirited, and childish. He looks at adults as morons who don’t ever mean what they say, and he pessimistically looks at everything in his life. I admit that sarcasm and cynicism can be funny to watch when done right and appropriately, but this was just done in an annoying, selfish manner, with little humor. The Bible also has a lot in Proverbs to say about those that are scornful in spirit. On another note, his friends tend to be immoral and foolish, often convincing him to do immoral and foolish things.

Overall: 2/5 Below Average: I was more than a little disappointed with this Dear America book. While the information was accurate and the plot was interesting, the main character is annoying, and the Japanese spirit is lacking. This is perhaps to replace the Japanese spirit with a more American spirit that some of the second and third generation Japanese no doubt had, but I think the characters’ attitudes were to too liberal to be something I could believe the average twelve year old in World War II America would have.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 An Inappropriate Attempt: Ben’s friend convinces him to spy on some girls when he believes they will be changing. The girls turn out to have changed before they came.

Violence: 2/5 Some Violence: Violence, death, and suicide are used a lot in exaggerations and sometimes in descriptions. The bombing of Pearl Harbor is mentioned. Characters wonder and believe several times that the Japanese will be killed systematically by the government. While angry, a woman purposely destroys all of her dishes. It is mentioned that a man hangs himself. Some boys play a knife throwing game, and a knife gets in a boys ankle. Someone throws a brick through a window. A boy elbows a kid, and he gets revenge by charging him in football. A woman gets hit in the head with a baseball. A boy attacks another boy, and though nothing to descriptive happens, it does mention the damage that was done. It is mentioned that a movie has a father that hits his son. It is mentioned that a man is shot to death by some soldiers. Characters fall, though rarely, if ever, get seriously hurt. A man is said to have threatened violence, but whether he truly did or not is never said. Several characters deaths are mentioned in the epilogue from bombing, gunshot, and unnamed causes.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Light Swearing and Racial Terms: “Damn” is misused once. The term “Jap” is used at least ten times.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Some Emotional and Disturbing Content: World War I, the Alamo, and the Civil are briefly mentioned and World War II is the time of the diary. There is mention of characters dying and getting injured in the war. Both white and Japanese people wish to hurt and kill each other throughout the book, at least twice wanting or threatening to burn down the other ones homes. One boy’s house is mentioned to have most likely been purposely burned. It is mentioned that a roof caught on fire from a sparkler. Characters cry and tear up a few times, usually from the way the children are being raised in the internment camps, and though it is not overly depressing, it is usually at least sad to read. A boy screams once when he gets hurt. A man is rumored to have died from soldiers, and it is rumored that the Japanese men are beaten. A boy is hit so hard in a football game that his a boy wonders if he killed him, and the event is described a little descriptively, though not too morbidly. Military men swarm a crowd when the crowd becomes restless, though no one is hurt. A boy makes a joke about tanks while he is being searched for weapons. Two characters in a movie are mentioned to have died. Soldiers point guns at people and guard from towers and streets. Rumors of riots are briefly mentioned a couple of times, as well as that tear gas killed the rioters. A man is greatly traumatized from being interrogated and held by the Americans and, though not completely mentally destroyed, he is obviously and greatly changed from it. Japanese possibly torturing Americans is briefly mentioned. Several characters deaths are mentioned in the epilogue from bombing, gunshot, and unnamed causes. Characters are briefly mentioned to sometimes faint. Characters hope they don’t get hurt. Characters mention feeling light pain from different circumstances. Bleeding is mentioned at least twice, and characters have or get bruises, cuts, scars, scratches, and swollen eyes. A boy is possibly blinded after getting attacked by another boy. Characters are mentioned to be carried on stretchers. A man is mentioned to have gotten a concussion. The historical facts mention the murder and lynching of Chinese immigrants, as well as military duty done by Japanese-American soldiers in World War II, as well as at least one soldier’s death. The author is mentioned to have written many books about war and war heroes.

Religious Issues: 1/5 Brief Mention A man is described as a boy’s “idol.” In the historical facts, a man is mentioned to be the son of a Buddhist monk.

Magic: ½/5 Slight Mention: “Magic” is used for descriptive purposes. A movie with “Ghost” in the title is mentioned.

Others: Characters smoke, illegally gamble, and are strongly hinted to drink, and sake (rice wine) is drunk by adults and children once. A man is said to have been drunk, but whether truly was or not is never said. Girls practice for a dance, and children perform a dance. A man in a movie is mentioned to have had more than one wife over his life. A man tells his son that there may be people on other planets. Santa Claus is briefly mentioned. Women start to wear only pants because of the sand. “Gamble” is used for descriptive purposes. “Ballet and interpretive dance” are mentioned.

Overall: Morally, the worst thing is probably the boys attempting to spy on changing girls. Other than this, morally there is not really anything wrong with it concerning content, but the main moral and attitude of the story causes me to not really recommend it.

Advertisements
Movies

A Movie Review of McKenna Shoots for the Stars

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

McKenna Shoots for the Stars by Vince Marcello (Director)

Type: Contemporary

Basic Plot: McKenna is an average ten year old girl, but soon finds that she has some academic problems. Wanting to drown herself in gymnastics, but prevented from doing so, she has to come to terms with having to get a tutor.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: The plot had several things in it that taught the moral, though the story was not extremely interesting for everybody. Since the movie is about a yen year old girl, girls in that age group will probably be the ones that enjoy it most. The plot was predictable in some ways, but it was not full blown laziness. In a lot of ways, it could be seen as a chick flick for preteens, minus the romance.

Acting: 4/5 Well Done: The acting was good, as well as the script. Body movements, tones, and facial expressions were realistic and believable. Sometimes the script was a little predictable or the voice acting had small traces of fakeness, but overall it was believable and realistic.

Costumes and Scenery: 4/5 Well Done: The scenery and costumes were both done beautifully. Homes looked like real middle to upper class homes, and schools and businesses were also detailed. Costumes and regular clothing were detailed just enough to be neither overdone nor too plain. Though not pure eye candy, the movie was pleasant to watch.

Moral: 4/5 A Very Good Moral: The main moral of the movie was humility, though it was shown in many different ways. One way was in excepting help, as McKenna must learn to accept that she needs tutoring. Another was in not always putting yourself first, as McKenna learns that she needs to set aside time for others needs and wants. Lastly, McKenna learns the importance of apologizing and admitting she was wrong. All three of these are good examples of humility. When McKenna acts in pride early on in the movie, it immediately results in consequences. This movie not only shows humility is good, but that pride is bad.

Another moral aspect I liked was how the adults were portrayed. The adults were shown as intelligent and helpful. McKenna was occasionally overly dramatic and mouthy, though a lot less so than most movies show children.

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: Though the plot is a little cliché, overall, I recommend this movie for preteen girls when it comes to quality. It many ways it is better than the average movie for children.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Immodest Costumes: The girls wear tight and high gymnastics outfits that reveal the thigh and sometimes even a little more. Some of the outfits are low or short, though only by a few inches, and little cleavage is revealed.

Violence: ½/5 Injuries: A girl breaks her ankle after falling off of a balance beam. Several girls fall during gymnastics routines. It is mentioned that a girl broke her wrist.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Light Misuse:“Geez” is said twice. God’s name is taken in vain at least once, though it may have been said twice.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Slightly Emotional Content: Two girls cry once each, though one more so tears up than cries. A girl mentions that she threw up from stress and that she wishes she would get an injury. Some girls talk about feeling sore from using a wheel chair.

Religious Issues: 0/5 None

Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention A girl reads a story that has a “magic looking glass” in it.

Others: Pop music, country pop, and light rock are played throughout the movie. It includes drums. It sometimes has a rebellious spirit. Girls dance for fun and for rhythmic gymnastics, and a girl mentions that she used to dance. A boy plays the drums against a desk. A man air plays a guitar as his family sings, and later they sing a heavy rock song in the credits. Earlier, they also talk mention his “grunge college rock band.” A rock band can be seen playing light rock in the background of a café. “DJ” is mentioned in a song. Girls wear pants.

Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: The biggest issues would probably be the clothing and the worldly music. I wouldn’t really recommend it to boys because of this, and for many families it may not work out at all. If someone did watch, I would say that it would be ok for all ages.

Books

A Book Review of The Confession

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Confession by Beverly Lewis

Type: Amish, Christian Fiction, Contemporary

Basic Plot: Katie has gone to look for her birth mother while her family grieves at home.

Quality

Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: Second books tend to be little more than bridges between the first and third, but I felt the author was trying to do more than that. The story was still interesting, and characters still developed. Some of the servants were more cliché than the Amish community characters had been, in my opinion. The plot had good things in it that were believable and thought out well, though not extraordinarily. The ending was a little cliché, but other than that it was not obviously or painfully cliché.

Writing Style and Setup: 3/5 Average: The writing style was the same as the first book. The descriptions were not as frequent and detailed, I believe, as the first book.

Moral: 2½/5 A Good, Partially Noticeable Moral: Though the moral is weaker in this book, I believe the moral that can be seen in this book is that God will come through for us. Katie’s mom prays that she will meet her daughter before her death and eventually does. The moral was not as expounded on as the first books moral was, but it could still be seen. There was little thanking of God for bringing about her daughter at the end of the book.

Overall: 3/5 Average: As most seconds books, The Confession was not as good as the first, but it was still enjoyable and did not feel forced. I think it is therefore above the average book, but like still not amazing. I believe that girls and women twelve to adult would enjoy this story.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: A girl is described as “sensual” and “seductive,” and Katie discovers racy, red undergarments in her suitcases. “Seductively” is used to describe a way a man speaks. It is mentioned that a woman had been embarrassed at any inappropriate “innuendo.” It is mentioned that a man got a vasectomy. A boy is known for being a flirt. A woman flirts with a married man and jokingly tells him to leave so that she can change. A woman confesses to her boyfriend that she is not a virgin, and her boyfriend is mentioned to have asked several times for intimacy before marriage, though he was always refused. A man kisses a woman he is dating, touches her hand, and “put his arm around her.” He later kisses her once after they are married. “Seductive” is used for descriptive purposes.

Violence: There are descriptions that use violence. It is mentioned a man dragged and forced a woman out of his house. It is mentioned that a man punched his pillow. Katie cuts her hand with a knife.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: It is mentioned once that a man swears, though it does not say what he said.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: There are descriptions with death and amputation, and shunned characters are often looked at as if they were dead. A woman believes her old boyfriend had died by drowning, though he hasn’t. Characters talk about a woman dying. A woman has several instances of spasms from sclerosis, and once or twice they are described in detail. A woman slowly goes insane from sorrow and believes she is hearing a child cry. A woman almost chokes on a drink. A woman slowly dies from sclerosis though the book and gets pneumonia, and Katie watches her mother when she dies. Characters are mentioned to have died in the past, including a brief mention of a stillborn baby. A boys feet hurt from having cut his “toenails too short,” and he exaggerates that he practically cut them off. A girl bleeds from a cut once.

Religious Issues: A girl thinks a man is like the devil for his wicked ways, and wonders if that’s what his middle initial stands for. It is mentioned that a girl recites a prayer from a prayer book, though it does not say what it is, and she is encouraged to pray by her relatives to pray using her own words. Characters are mentioned to wear head coverings. A boy says how he believes certain people will go to hell. “Haunting,” “haunted,” and “ghost” are used for descriptive purposes.

Magic: “Magic” and “spellbound” are used for descriptive purposes.

Others: “Dance” is used for descriptive purposes. A woman is given medical drugs and shots. A woman had once thought about divorcing a man but didn’t. A man smokes a cigar, and he uses an ashtray. The cigar is also used for descriptive purposes.

Overall: Overall I would say it’s appropriate for children twelve and older.

Here is a review to the third book, The Reckoning: https://christianentertainmentreviewsblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/a-book-review-of-the-recking/

Movies

A Movie Review of The Shunning

The Shunning by Michael Landon Jr. (Director)

Type: Amish, Drama

Basic Plot: Katie Lapp is an Amish girl about to marry the bishop, but secrets that her family has been hiding from her change her entire perspective on life.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The plot had a different timeline and events than the book, so much so in some ways that I wonder how the next movie will match the book. Some events are the same and the general feel of the movie is the same, but other events and their order and way are completely different. I would like to say it has the spirit and frame of the story but a slightly different telling of it. The only poor scene was the discovery of the dress, in my opinion, as it seemed like Katie just randomly wandered in the attic and found her dress in an almost purposeful manner. Other than that, scenes were pretty natural. I liked that most of the reveal was left near the end of the movie, while the book reveals quite a lot near the beginning and middle. It also ended well, making a sequel very possible without feeling like there was serious unresolved plot content.

Acting: 3/5 Above Average: The acting was about believable and realistic, especially some of the middle aged women. The characters spoke with an accent, which some may find annoying, but others may find perfectly fine. The main characters were able to keep a strong accent, though sometimes in emotional scenes it would waver or tend to disappear. The only actress who kept a pure accent despite emotional scenes (in my opinion) was Katie’s mother.

Costumes and Scenery: 3 /5 Above Average: Since I have had times in my life where I lived near the Amish, I know how they dress. Some of the costumes wear inaccurate in shape, and some even included buttons, something that Amish are not allowed to wear. The head coverings were definitely accurate though. I feel like some of the boys hair made them look like boy band members in Amish clothes, though, and Katie was sometimes noticeably wearing light makeup. The only huge disappointment was that neither Katie nor her mother had red or auburn hair or even a strawberry blond. Later I saw an extra that did have the flaming red hair Katie was supposed to have, while the books said no one else in the town had a red headed child.

Scenery was simple for Amish scenes and not overdone in the English ones. It was believable in the right ways, looking like homes that one could or does live in, or stores one has gone to.

Moral: 2 /5 More Toned Down Moral: The moral was more toned down in the movies, probably because the author could not explain character’s internal battles as much. Though the movie was more trying to tell a story than a moral, I believe the moral that can easily be seen is that lying has terrible consequences. Katie’s mother hides a secret from her daughter for years and even tries to prevent certain things Katie wants because of her insecurities. As a result, Katie leaves the Amish and is shunned.

Overall: 3 /5 Above Average: I think this is a good movie of the book, but I think it could have been better in some of the costumes and more accurate. The movie was good in its own way, though I wonder how the sequel will work with some of the information missing. I believe Christian families, though especially girls, will like it.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Suggestive: Some of the shirts the characters wear may be considered a little low, though little to no defined cleavage or curvature is shown. A girl gets pregnant outside of marriage. A boy kisses a girl on the cheeks, and a boy and girl kiss on the lips, all unmarried, though not passionately.

Violence: 1/5 One Incidence: A woman cuts her finger.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Some Misuse: God’s name is taken in vain three times (though that does depend on perspective, such as “Thank God!” in a more flippant sense than a Christian.)

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Emotional and Slightly Intense Content: There is mention that a horse may soon “give up the ghost.” Descriptions like “will get you shot” and “old graves” are used. A woman is dying of a disease. It is mentioned that she passed out and had surgery. A man is mentioned to have died in a boating accident. A woman gives birth to a child who dies immediately from heart problems, and there is mention of them never having children again and that past children had died. In a rage, a man destroys a guitar. Characters cry or on the brink of crying for various regions, though emotional or sad nothing overly dramatic is done. Blood is briefly seen after a woman cuts her finger, and it is later seen bandaged.

Religious Issues: 1/5 Brief Suggestion: Katie goes to an Amish confession, though doctrinally wrong it is not like the Catholics or creepy and cultish feeling, and characters wear head coverings. A girl talks to a man that is presumed dead, hinting it was a dream, ghost, vision, or even her talking to herself.

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: A woman mentions that her mother drank and did drugs. Women wear pants. A boy pretends to play an air electric guitar. There is some music with a beat and light rock/punk music played a few times for background music or listened to by Katie in secret.

Overall: 1/5 All Ages Appropriate: Besides some of the drama regarding pre-marital birth, I think this movie is recommendable for just about anybody.

Books

A Book Review of The Shunning

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Shunning by Beverly Lewis

Type: Amish, Christian Fiction, Contemporary

Basic Plot: Katie Lapp has been raised Old Order Amish from infancy, but her seemingly simple and predictable life is changed when she finds some a secret in her attic.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Well Done: I liked how this Amish plot was not centered on romance, but on family, individualism, and peer pressure. Katie finds out the life that she has been living has been little more than a lie and begins to question the Amish ways more and more. Her growing rebellion results in an Amish tradition of shunning. All interaction is cut off from the shunned one, and Katie has to choose to follow either what the church says is right or what she knows is true. The book deals with a different type of enslavement from Communism or legal slavery. The book deals with slavery to religion, social pressure, and a church.

Characters are much less cliché and more developed than some Christian Fiction I have read. Different perspectives are shown, making sure that the reader isn’t trapped in one way of viewing things. Their feelings and emotions are realistic, and though sometimes the characters are emotional and cry, they are not overflowing with tears at the slightest trouble or behave pathetically.

Writing Style and Setup: 3/5 Average: Despite the amazing plot and characters, the style was more mediocre. Descriptions were plain and predictable at times, though not too forced. The setup was good, leaving the plot twist for the very end, with little to none showing what it would be. Some people may think the story is a little slow, but it did move smoother and faster than some Christian books I have read.

Moral: 3/5 A Good Moral: The moral of the book, I believe, will become more clear in later books, but in this book is opening up to the idea of freedom from religious enslavement. Katie is discontent with her Plain life, wishing she could wear bright clothes or that she could sing non-religious songs. As she thinks on her past and learns more, she realizes that she is merely holding to unreasonable tradition rather than Biblical standards. We should be subject to the Bible, but Katie lives in a society that believes in subjection to manmade laws and traditions. Not all manmade laws and traditions are wrong and unreasonable, but Katie learns that they are not necessarily needed to be righteous, right with God, or to go to heaven, as her friends and family teach. I believe this will be more expounded on in later books. There are small traces of rebellion in action, but I don’t sense a rebellious spirit in Katie, despite her confusion about her religious life.

Overall: 3½/5: Above Average: I honestly think that The Shunning has some of the things that make fine literature, though whether it is a classic or not is debatable. I think girls and women twelve to adults would like to read the story.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Light, Brief Physical Contact and Some Suggestiveness: Boys hug and kiss a girl on the mouth and cheeks that they are dating and engaged to, and a girl lightly and briefly describes how it feels. A man thinks how a girl’s hair felt when he sprinkled her. A man is eager to “demonstrate his love” for his future wife after there wedding, and one of the reasons of father scolds his daughter for not marrying a man is because he “has no woman to warm his bed.” Katie wonders about the feeling of lying about your purity. It is mentioned that a girl had a child outside of marriage, and she cries over her mistake of having intimacy outside of marriage.

Violence: 1/5 Brief, Light Violence: A boy kicks his sister. It is mentioned that a boy pulled his sister’s hair when they were children. A woman burns her fingers in a dream. Chickens’ heads are mentioned to be cut off as part of the wedding preparations and customs.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Possible Misuse: God’s name is possibly taken in vain once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Light Emotional Content: A woman gives birth to a stillborn daughter, and it is mentioned that she had two miscarriages. A girl’s boyfriend is mentioned to have died, though his body is never found. She visits his grave about twice and often thinks of him. A woman is dying from a disease unknown by the reader. Two women briefly discuss death. Characters cry of varying situations, such as abandonment or death, but none are overly dramatic. A character is shunned, which includes a complete break off in communication with the shunned one, and greatly saddens the shunned one.

Religious Issues: 2/5 Practices of Other Christian” Groups: Characters are Amish and Mennonite. Baptism is done by sprinkling. Certain Amish religious rituals and methods such as confession, women wearing head coverings, the Holy Kiss, and casting lots to pick bishops are mentioned. It is mentioned that characters recite prayers from prayer books. A few times, salvation by works is mentioned, and a boy says his sister will go to hell if she does not stay with the Amish Church, though salvation by faith is thought about by the main character. A Bible verse is either misquoted or not KJV, and a character is mentioned to have had a “paraphrased version of the New Testament.”

Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Specter” is used for descriptive purposes.

Others: A girl dances once, though it is more like twirling than actually dancing.

Overall: 2½/5 Almost Child Appropriate: Overall I think this book is appropriate for children twelve at the youngest, mainly because of the religious rituals and some of the suggestive content.

Here is a review to the second book, The Confession: https://christianentertainmentreviewsblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/a-book-review-of-the-confession/

Books

A Manga Review of Emma (1-2)

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Emma 1-2 by Kaoru Mori

Type: Historical Fiction, Romance, Shoujo

Basic Plot: Emma is a maid that tends to catch the hearts of many men with her sweet spirit and appearance. Most men she has shown no interest in, but when she finally falls in love with William Jones, it seems like they can never be together.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The one thing I look for in manga romances in if it is cliché or not. The story was a common story of a forbidden love between the rich and poor, but it was unique in what the characters did. Since the creator tried hard to make the setting as accurate as possible, the story is creative because of its strong Victorian England feel and events. Characters go to places and perform activities that are unique to the time era.

Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: The drawings were less manga looking, probably because the setting was in England, but still had a Japanese touch in the eyes and details. Details were not overflowing, but were there. The artist had a way of making the plain and simple look beautiful and neat. The art changed in that I believe it looks a little darker and neater as the book goes on, and certain characters faces become more rounded. This is about done by the end of chapter four.

Moral: 2/5 No Clear Moral: The moral of the story is not clear. There is no defining lesson or message yet, though one may appear later in the story.

Overall: This manga is recommended for girls and women, especially if they like Victorian England.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2½/5 Suggestive: It shows a girl and boy leaning in to kiss, though the kiss itself is barely shown. A boy grabs a girls hand when he confesses his love. A girl puts her arms around a man. Two boys look at pictures of girls in low corsets and underskirts, one showing a girl sitting in an immodest fashion and showing part of her thigh. A man says that people in India “stride around half-naked.” Some girls from India wear outfits that show off their stomachs and curves, and some girls are shown to have low dresses in the front and back. Men are shirtless, but no inappropriate details are shown. A girl is helped to undress to her nightgown by a maid. A girl is nearly sold into a brothel as a child, but she escapes. The conversation between a man trying to sell her to the lady who owns the place is heard. A girl is hinted to have been born to an unmarried woman. The author says in the afterward wonders if she might be a “masochist” considering how much work she’ll do and that she enjoys it.

Violence: 1/5 Brief, Light Violence: A man gets his head hit when a door opens, and people are run into or hit by luggage at least once each. A man mentions that he once fell and hurt his elbow. A man talks about hunting foxes. A woman slaps a child. It is not shown, but a woman falls down a flight of stairs. A child is shown falling. An elephant goes on a rampage and starts crashing through a courtyard, though no one is hurt. A girl jumps off a wall and lands on her face.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Light Swearing: “Damn” is misused once. “Hell” is misused once. A girl calls another girl a “saucy minx,” though she is reproved for it.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Light Disturbing Content: A girl is kidnapped and almost sold to a brothel, and a man tries to convince the owner that men are becoming more interested in children. A woman dies of old age, though her death is not shown. Characters are mentioned to have died, and a man’s burial is briefly shown. The Victorian Era’s obsession with death is briefly mentioned. A man talks about his father dying, as well as that “drowning him in the Thames wouldn’t have killed him.” Characters tear up.

Religious Issues: ½/5 Brief Mention: An Islamic mosque is briefly seen once while touring a museum. Elephants are described as “sacred.”

Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: A boy wonders if his brother “was bewitched” by a girl’s “face.”

Others: Characters waltz, and Indian girls briefly perform an Indian dance. Characters smoke pipes (British and Indian) and cigarettes, and it is hinted that some ladies leave so that the men can smoke. Characters drink, and a boy mentions how he drank lots on his first night out, that it is relaxing to drink, and the specific names of what he drank. A girl drinks and appears to be a bit lightheaded from it. Men play cards, though it is not made known if they are gambling or what they are playing. A man briefly mentions that the pubs are closed. The author mentions being a fan of Marilyn Monroe.

Overall: 3/5 Teenager Appropriate: I would recommend this morally to children fourteen or fifteen and older because of the suggestive content.

IMPORTANT: Upon further research, the manga takes a turn for the worse in Emma 3-4, mostly in part four, which shows a woman naked, revealing nearly everything except for the front of the lower half of the body, and an entire back shot is shown, with a girl only wearing her shoes. I would not recommend the series because of this.

Books

A Book Review of The Passion of Dolssa

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berrie

Type: Historical Fiction

Basic Plot: Dolssa is a young girl that receives visions from her “beloved,” Jesus. Believing her to be a heretic, the Inquisition is hunting down Dolssa. Dolssa goes into hiding in a village with a girl named Botille, and a whole village is changed by the Inquisition.

Quality

Plot: 5/5 Excellent Quality: I was so enraptured by the story that I finished in three days. Plot twists, historical accuracy, and suspense made the story gripping, being neither forced or cliché. Characters were deeper than most YA novels, though they could have been deeper. Almost all of the main characters are somewhat dynamic. They mature and at least partially change the way they look at things. The characters were also realistic, as even the evil inquisitors believe they are genuinely doing God’s will.

Writing Style and Setup: 4½/5 Amazing Quality: There were a variety of perspectives and styles, including first person, third person, and monologues. The narrative was not too casual as to sound awkward or unintelligent.

Moral: 3/5 A Good Moral: The book’s moral was to not hide the truth, especially when regarding history. The author shows this in her characters as well as in her own beliefs that she states at the book. Botille lies often to protect others, get out of trouble, and to convince people to do what she wants. She is often successful, but the more time goes on, the more her lies tend to hinder her and others. If anything, her lying eventually starts to strongly work against her, even if it was for the right reasons. Another case against lying was discussed by the author at the end of the book. She said while studying the Inquisition, she saw that the Catholic Church failed greatly in recording the truth regarding the heretics to the Catholic Church. She discusses how many people in power will try to change what history says in an effort to make those they disagree with seem like the bad guys of history or as if they never existed. She states that, “If truth matters one iota, we can’t be content to write history as we’d like it to have gone. We must tell it, to the best of out biased and hampered ability, exactly as it was.” God says a lot about lying. “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.” Proverbs 12:22. Whether a peasant girl lying to make a profit or a modern historian lying to make his side look better, both are wrong and both will eventually pay a price for lying.

Overall: 4½/5 Amazing: This is definitely a unique and historically accurate book. Teenagers and adults will both find it interesting, I believe, whether you are a boy or a girl. Some things may appeal to girls more, mainly because it is from a girl’s perspective, but some boys may still like the story.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 3/5 Suggestive Content and Inappropriate References:  The priest of one town is mentioned to have impregnated several girls, and that he offers “comfort of a special kind.” A girl once visits him on a night when he has someone over, though it is only briefly mentioned and no details are given. Once when a girl is angry, she pinches her sister’s bottom, though not sexually. One girl is pregnant from this and is desperate to marry before it is obvious she is pregnant. Her friend once mistakes that she was pregnant from a married man. A girl asks a man if he was sent away from his town for seducing other men’s wives. He doesn’t deny it, and says he did seduce the concubines of the religious men. A mother wonders if her daughter had “sinned” because her daughter refuses to marry; she didn’t. One girl believes that men will wish to marry her because of her curves and points them out to her friend. A prostitute meets Dolssa and tries to convince her to join her in her work. A monologue later shows the prostitute asking a friar if he would like to stay with her for a little while. He refuses. It mentions that a man imagines a girl “trying to entice a man.” A man has a dream that Dolssa seduces him, hinting that she may have undressed in front of him. Though it is known that the man and girl have sex and that “She compelled him to… kiss and touch,” there is no description of touching other than a kiss. Characters kiss throughout the book in platonic and romantic manners, whether with the opposite or same gender, on the lips, cheek, and ear. All romantic kissing is between members of the opposite gender and only happens two or three times at most. A girl tells her sister to find a boy to kiss; she doesn’t. There is hugging and arm holding for romance, emotional comfort, or both. A girl once sits on a man’s lap. It is mentioned that the ability to hear noises in neighboring houses is a cause of embarrassment for newlyweds. Men and boys stare at girls crushing grapes, as their skirts are raised higher than normal, and they are described as having “lusty” eyes. A girl is described as “boxum” in the book. Two innocent people are accused of fornication. A girl is stared at by a man, and she believes he wanted “a roll in the hay,” though it is later revealed that he doesn’t. Characters are called sluts, whores, and harlots, whether they have earned the name or not. A girl refers to her sister mentally as a whore and “harlot goddess.” A man comments on a girl’s bottom. A girl’s mother, who has died, was a courtesan, adulterous, and whore according to her daughter’s memory, and she had many lovers. Breastfeeding is mentioned. Boys are whipped while they are nearly naked. Some girls help bathe Dolssa. Dolssa mentions that she believed some other girls were “grooming” her into prostitution, though they weren’t. It is mentioned that religious men have concubines and lovers, and a woman asks if a man searching for Dolssa is looking for her because she is his “mistress.” A girl believed heretics had “giant genitals.” It mentions a girl’s bosom bounces as she jumps. A man reflects how the smell, nearness, and touch of a love interest makes him feel. In conversation, twice it sounds like a man may be cheating on his wife or vise versa. A man asks a girl if she lives alone, making her worry he has dishonorable plans; he doesn’t. A man changes his shirt in front of a girl. A girl tells someone she is changing her clothes (when she isn’t), and then tells a boy that is present to leave her. A girl says she would not go in the forest at night because it is not proper (though she did) and reflects how she and her sisters are not known for their “maidenly reputations.” Dolssa looks at Jesus as a lover in several ways, and once when a girl sees her alone talking to an invisible Jesus, the girl compares it to barging in on kissing. The author says in her historical notes that some women in the past thought of Jesus as their husband, which included “passionate, sexual terms” to describe their view of Him. A book on prostitution, which apparently talks about sex as a list of things it discusses, is recommended in the “Additional Reading” section. “The… sensuality” of specific mystics is mentioned to be discussed in one of the recommended books.

Violence: 3½/5 Descriptive Violence: Violence is used for descriptive purposes. Characters are relieved to see other characters unhurt. Characters frequently make threats of violence that are not intended to be carried out. Characters are or nearly are burned alive descriptively, and there is talk of burning the bones of dead heretics. A girl says the fire “scorched” them, though they are merely near the fire. A girl is shot at with an arrow, though it hits a man. Characters talk of burning down a whole village but don’t. A man is attacked by two boys. The boys are fought off by some other characters. The fight includes tackling and beating characters over the head. Some boys are whipped and branded descriptively. The crusades are mentioned and once described in graphic detail. A girl says she is fine marrying a wife beater. It is mentioned that a cat bit a girl’s hand. A girl bites her tongue. A girl carries a whip with her as she travels and threatens people with it, though it is never used. Characters are commanded to whip other characters and to burn heretic’s bones. A man is pushed in his dream. A girl lies that a man was killed while saving man from assassination. Children push each other once. A woman wonders if her grandchildren accidentally hurt a man; they hadn’t. The historical notes mention a man being lanced to death and the crusades. A baby accidentally pokes a man’s eye. A girl pinches her sisters bottom as her sister pushes her sole into her foot. A man throws a woman “upon the ground.” A man is on the run for murderer, which he did out of fear of his friend’s being killed. It is mentioned that man dies from something falling on his head. A girl wishes God would kill persecutors. A girl tries to bite a boy at least once. Characters show playful violence, such as a light pinch. The historical notes mention the 9/11 attack, torture, and talk about groups of people’s zeal to kill others.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 3½/5 Proper and Improper Swearing: It is mentioned that characters swear, though it does not say what they said. “Damn” is properly used at least eight times and improperly used at least once or twice. The Occitan word “aze” (meaning “buttocks, bottom” in the book) is used several times throughout the book, though it is never made clear whether it is the equivalent of the English swear word. God’s name is possibly taken in vain in French at least thirteen times and possibly twice or more in English. “Lord” is misused once. Jesus’ name and blood are possibly misused once each. Some of the taking of God’s name in vain depends on how it is looked at as swearing or a prayer, but some is clearly misuse. “Piss” is used properly once. The “s” word is used twice in its original meaning, though in a spelling differed by one word. Women are called and referred to as harlots, sluts, and whores, with or without reason.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 4/5 Disturbing and Emotional Deaths and Violence: Several deaths mentioned in “Violence” are disturbing, mentioning the way they burn and scream. Characters nearly die several times, and the scenes can be emotional and dramatic. Characters talk, worry, and wonder about death, near deaths, and executions, whether it is their own or others. Characters are mentioned to have died in the past. Characters scream and throw up at the sight and smell of others dying. Boys are whipped in a descriptively humiliating manner. Characters accidentally burn their hands.A girl’s hand injury releases fluid. Dolssa’s legs are blood covered and torn up from walking for so long, and a girl considers how the injury could become more serious. It is mentioned that it is painful to have her injuries cleaned. It is wondered if a girl is an “angel of death;” she isn’t. A couple of characters funerals are held, though they are sad they are not extremely dramatic. A man goes into a drunken trance for several days after his wife’s death. A girl says that after her mother died she discovered her dead mother. A man wakes up screaming because of nightmares about the crusades. A man has a dream that he nearly dies of thirst. A man sings a song about the crusades and later describes them in graphic detail, describing how they killed people. It is mentioned that a cat once had worms and that a donkey once fell over and died. A girl wants to leave a dying girl be left for dead. Starvation is briefly mentioned. A girl’s hiding place is described as a “grave,” “tomb,” and “burial.” A girl lies that she had been looking at “a dying bird.” “Tanneries and slaughterhouses” are briefly mentioned at least once. A girl accidentally burns her hand. Blood is mentioned at least six times. Scars and bruises and a swollen eye are on characters, and once a man’s skull is heard to crack. Different types of injuries, such as “bleeding and bruised,” are used for descriptive purposes. A girl once thinks her sister is “a bled corpse.” “Murderous” and “dying” are used for descriptive purposes, and a man calls himself a “murderer” for his work in a crusade. A man is called “murder.”

Religious Issues: (At Least) 4/5 Great Practice and Mention and Possibly Blasphemous Activities: Several brief references to Catholic positions and methods are mentioned, including abbots and abbesses, abbeys, bishops, canons, clerics, cloisters, convents, the Eucharist, excommunication, friars, incense, last rites, liturgies, mass, monasteries, monks, nuns, parishes, penance, the pope, priest, priors, saints, the sacraments, shrines, and supposedly “sacred” and “holy” church objects and clothing. Catholic doctrine is sometimes briefly and lightly touched, such as beliefs that only the Catholic Church can learn about God or that the pope and Peter have or have had certain divine powers and authorities. Characters also believe Mary and the Catholic saints have spiritual powers. A woman wants her daughter to be a nun. Characters take the Eucharist once and attend mass a few times, though it is not described in detail. A girl is mentioned to pray for people’s souls. Saints are believed to have powers, and one girl prays to one. One girl is forced to join a convent. The Catholic Church is occasionally referenced to be “true” or called “the Holy Church.” Specific Catholic organizations and buildings are mentioned. Characters refer to each other in Catholic terms, such as “my son” or Dominus, a word meaning lord. A man is once referred to as His Excellency because of his religious position. Characters make the sign of the cross, and a girl once bows and prays at a Catholic shrine. A girl’s mother comforts her at least once, even though she is dead; it is hinted to be merely a dream. A girl wonders if Dolssa is hexing the when she is really just praying. A girl once thinks of her sister as a “harlot goddess.” A girl prays “Our Father,” though the English translation of the Occitan does not exactly match the Bible. Characters show that they believe your eternal destination is determined by the Catholic Church and works, as well as that the priest can forgive sins. Dolssa briefly wonders twice if she is in hell because of bad situations or things said that she deems blasphemous, and a girl once wonders where she will go when she dies. A girl once briefly wonders about “spirits of the dead” being out. A man calls a town “reprobate” for sheltering Dolssa. Characters are accused of blaspheme, once for being against the crusades and once for calling saying that Dolssa’s “beloved is a monster” if He does not care for Dolssa anymore. A girl thought she saw Jesus in her doorway. It was really her stepfather. A girl asks a man if he is a monk; he isn’t. A character wonders if a girl is a saint. Some girls think a demon is responsible for the death of an animal. The Muslim and Jewish religions are briefly mentioned. A girl says she wished Jesus could stay at their tavern and concludes that Dolssa’s allows this at least to a degree. “Offerings at a shrine” and “haunted” are used for descriptive purposes. Dolssa receives visions and feels burnings, as well as talks to and sees Jesus. She also says that he answers her. She also believes that if Jesus tells her to do something, she should follow that rather than the Bible, as she believes that is merely the Apostle’s writing. It mentions that she preaches in front of people and defends it by saying that since she isn’t in church, it isn’t against the Bible. A girl wonders if Dolssa is really “flesh and blood” because of the miracles she brings and hears voices in her head. Throughout out the book, mostly near the end, she sense voices more so than literally hears a person speaking. The author experiences something similar at the end of the book and writes something that happened in the past based on a spiritual revelation. Animals and people are called “devilish,” and characters compare to and accuse other people of being the devil or devils. A mole on Dolssa is thought once to be “the devil’s mark,” and she is accused of being “tricked (by) the devil” rather than actually talking to God. She refutes this by saying the devil does not tell others to love Jesus. A woman claims to have heard Mary speak to her. Either God or Dolssa performs miracles because of Dolssa’s prayers or presence. Such miracles may include healing, endless ale, or breast milk returning to a barren mother. Characters in the book sometimes look at Dolssa with a worshipful amount of respect, one woman even thinking her looking at her death as “God burn[ing] God.” Other characters are also mentioned to have been bowed to for supposedly being holy people. A man is practically an atheist because of how the crusaders treated supposed heretics, though it is shown that he still believes in God to an extent, and he refers to the Catholic’s God once with a lower case “g.” He looks at Christianity, specifically Catholicism and the crusades, with contempt. The historical notes mentions people being made saints and that women tended to view Jesus as their husband in a literal sense, sometimes with “passionate, sexual” things to say about Him. It also discusses mystics and slightly touches the Catholic view of Mary. Real and fake religious movements, Catholic and French religious figures, and salvation by works are all mentioned in the historical notes as well. “The spirituality” of specific mystics is mentioned to be discussed in one of the recommended books.

The religious premise of the book is the persecution of a girl who can literally see and talk to Jesus, as well as Now the Bible does say that one day we will be the Bride of Christ (First Corinthians 11:2 “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”), but at the present time I believe we are merely engaged. Several verses point to this. (See Matthew 25 1-13, Revelation 19 7-9, and First Corinthians 11:2 to name a few.) Also, I believe that the church as a whole is the Bride of Christ, not individual people. I do not believe that Dolssa’s relationship with Jesus is necessarily how God intended it to be, though I do believe she is on the right track, as the Catholic Church has a very removed and impersonal in comparison to what God intended. In a sense, the book is about one form of heresy killing another. The book, therefore, should probably not be read for religious truth as much as for knowledge historically.

Magic: 2/5 Suggestive and Descriptive: Two girls pretend they can read palms, read minds, and see the future. It is strongly suggested they really can’t, merely that they are observant. At least three palm readings are described. One girl’s predictions come true on a regular basis, though she is occasionally wrong. A girl lies that her sister had a premonition. A girl talks about her mother being magic and passing it down to her daughters, as her daughter supposedly read fortunes. A girl accuses her sister of “bewitching” and “hex[ing]” men when they start giving her sister money, as well as ask if she can learn what to do, though the girl does not practice witchcraft. A girl thinks about “sprites and fairies” coming out at night. One girl greatly plays it up by going into costume and using a tent. Pictures of mermaids are used to decorate a girls dress. A girl wonders is Dolssa is hexing the when she is really just praying. Characters are called “soothsayers,” “mystics,” “sorceress,” and “devina” for various reasons, though whether they are or not is debatable. “Ghost,” “phantom,” and “fairy” are used for descriptive purposes, and characters wonder if other characters are these. They aren’t. “Dragonlike,” “trance,” and “specter” are used for descriptive purposes. As far as is known, no magic is clearly done in the book, though it is slightly hinted that one girl’s palm reading may be genuine. In the historical notes, “devina” is translated “soothsayer, witch (feminine).” In “Additional Reading” section, a book that mentions mystics and witches in the title is recommended.

Others: Some of the main characters live in and run a tavern. It is mentioned that they learn to and do make wine and ale. Some characters store their alcoholic drinks in an “ale cellar.” Characters offer alcoholic drinks as presents and serve them at bars. Wine and ale are drunk, and wine is used in food. A man is mentioned to be a “wine merchant.” A town is described as a “wine town,” as that is what the people drink. “Wine” and “liqueur” are used for descriptive reasons. Characters are mentioned and are accused of being “half-drunk” and “drunk,” and one girl is wobbly from drinking too much. Some girl’s father is a drunkard. Characters are mentioned to dance at par ties, and “dancing” is used for descriptive purposes. As a child, one girl would wear boy’s clothes. In the historical notes, it mention a winery.

Overall: 4/5 Adult Appropriate: This book is not really recommended. The swearing, gore, and religious confusion would probably be too much for most teenagers and definitely children. If anyone read it, I believe an adult would be the appropriate age, as they can discern the religious content best, but even then the sexual content and violence may reasonably cause many Christians to not read it.

Books

A Movie Review of Persuasion

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Persuasion by Fiona Finlay (Producer) and Roger Michell (Director)

Type: Classic, Historical Fiction

Basic Plot: Ann was once persuaded by friends and family to not marry a man because at the time he was poor. Though years have passed, she still deeply loves him despite the fact that it looks like he no longer cares at all for her.

Quality

Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: I believe that Persuasion has several interesting ideas presented throughout the plot for one to think over. It moved at a good pace and had most of the books content. I do believe the story could have been more detailed in certain ways, but that was more of Jane Austen’s fault than the writers. Persuasion is one of her shorter books.

The only bad thing about the plot was some of the awkwardness of the romance. The only really romantic scene between the main characters is made awkward because of an audible circus in the background, and the walk home because they are walking through literally deserted streets that had people in them only seconds ago. Other than this, the plot was smooth and natural.

Acting: 4/5 Well Done: The actors and actresses portrayed the characters very realistically. They act in the way that annoys you because you’re supposed to hate that character, their loud, obnoxious, or argue, always in a believable realistic way. Sometimes it was realistic to the point of maybe being too real, as some of the stories charm just may have been taken away because of it, but other than that the realness really can be appealing.

Scenery and Costumes: 2½/5 Below Average: The scenes were simple. Furniture and articles around the house were things one could easily see at a thrift store, and they looked old and homemade.

This may seem cruel, but if you are looking for extremely handsome and beautiful characters with detailed, bright costumes, you will be disappointed. No cruelty is intended, but the people, costumes, and make up chosen for he movie were not attractive.

Some may appreciate the simple clothes and homes as being realistic and simple, as this was probably what the time era actually looked like on a regular basis, but it does steal some of the romance from the era.

Music: 3/5 Average: There was not a lot of music, and most of it was just simple piano playing. One lady sang an Italian song that was quite beautiful, though.

Moral: 3/5 A Good Moral: The moral of the story and the philosophies discussed are not as strong as the book, but are still throughout. The moral of the book was that status and wealth do not determine whether a person is agreeable or a good person. Anne’s family is obsessed with hanging around rich, high ranking relatives, while Anne believes intelligent if poor people are better companions. She is mocked for this, but she still is firm in her kindness and association with them. The movie has this as well, though it is not as emphasized as it could have been. This is a good moral, as we can not fully judge the character of a person because of how much money they have or what position in society they may have.

Overall: 3/5 Average: This Jane Austen movie is one that either will be appreciated for its simple, realness or hated for it. It is more likely it will be hated than loved, which is perfectly understandable. Out of all the Jane Austen movies I have seen, I probably found this one the worst one, as it has the least romance and fantasy about it.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2½/5 Brief Nudity and Suggestive Content: A few dresses are low in the front and slightly low in the back. A statue of a naked man is shown for a few seconds. A man and woman kiss before marriage.

Violence: 1/5 Slight Violence: A boy is mentioned to fall from a tree and hurts his back, collarbone, arm, and face. A girl jumps and hits her head, knocking her out for several days. Men shoot at ducks for hunting.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Some Misuse: Forms of “damn” are misused three times. “Lord” is misused twice, and God’s name is taken in vain four times.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Slightly Emotional Content and Slight Injuries: Characters cry and scream when they see or hear people are injured, and one lady goes completely hysterical. A man’s leg injury is mentioned. A child has scratches and wounds on his face from a tree fall that may be slightly disturbing and wears a cast. Characters are mentioned to have died in the past. War is briefly mentioned in numerous ways, though not described or shown. “Death” is used for descriptive purposes.

Religious Issues: ½/5 Brief Mention: Parishes and curates are both mentioned. Atheist are briefly mentioned to have been at a certain activity.

Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: Poetry that contains magic is briefly mentioned (such as “The Lady of the Lake”) though what is in the poems is only recited once or twice. Magic is almost always lacking in the recitations.

Others: Characters smoke and appear to drink alcohol a couple of times. Characters talk about dancing and once actually dance.

Overall: Unless you have a way to cut out the nude statue, I don’t recommend this movie. If there is a way you can cut it out, then I can suggest it as morally acceptable for all ages.

Books

A Book Review of Public Education Against America: The Hidden Agenda

Public Education Against America: The Hidden Agenda by Marlin Maddoux

Type: Christian, Education, Non-fiction

Basic Idea: A radio host reveals some shocking facts about the way public schools are designed and run.

Quality

Information and Applicableness of the Lessons: Mr. Maddoux talks about the religious, moral, and sexual problems in public schools and universities. People, especially parents, can apply this in their decision making for their children’s education, as well as their views and beliefs about public school. Pastors may find the information useful in sermons and their own schools. Teachers and principals, especially Christians, both inside and outside the public schools may like to see what the public school is trying to push. Single adults may like to use it to help them pick whether a Christian or secular college is for them.

Reliability of Information: 4½/5 Very Reliable and Mostly in Date: Most of the sources come from people the author has interviewed. These range from teachers to parents to philosophers. Books and newspapers backed by a bibliography are also sources. Some of the information may be from the ‘90s and ‘80s, but that does not change the fact that they happened. Things are no doubt the same if not worse than when they originally happened. If not, at the least, one could see how and why the USA is at the point it is now in its acceptance of certain things.

Overall: I strongly recommend this book to adults that are parents, teachers, principals, and pastors. If a parent has their child in public school I definitely recommend. Other adults may also find this book interesting, even if it does not apply to them as much.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: Sex education classes as well as what is used to teach about sex is mentioned. A video of a couple right before having sex that was shown in class is described in detail. Condoms, contraceptions, prostitution, STDs, and sexual functions are mentioned. Homosexuality, molesting, pedophilia, porn, and rape are mentioned. Sadism and masochism are mentioned, and it is mentioned that a person compares Christianity to them. Female circumcision is mentioned. Mohammed sexual crimes, including his marriage to a child, are mentioned. There is mention that a man was a sadist as well as the sexual crimes he committed and that he is a renowned sexual philosopher. Other sexual crimes are also mentioned. The private parts of the different genders are mentioned by name once. It is mentioned that the Muslims believe that there will be seventy-two virgins in Heaven for them to sleep with. Premarital sex and “trying out marriage” while still single is mentioned. “Rape,” “naked,” and “incestuous” are used for descriptive purposes.

Violence: There is mention of a hypothetical discussion that talks about a boy kicking someone. The 9-11 terrorist attack is described. The Columbine school shooting is described. Violent acts done by the Muslims against Christians and Jews are mentioned and slightly described. A story that includes stoning a woman is mentioned. There is mention of the Muslim jihad. There is mention of posters with explosions on them. Abortion, jihads, and mercy killing are mentioned. “Slaughter” is used for descriptive purposes, and one violent metaphor is used.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: Profanity is mentioned to be in a book that a man was asked to read aloud, though the exact content of the page is never made known.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: There is mention of people committing suicide or wanting to commit suicide literally or figuratively. Some of the sexual content may be very disturbing, shocking, and/or emotional for some people, as it talks about pedophilia among homosexuals as well as at least two crimes committed against children. There is mention of people dying from STDs. It is mentioned that some people are taught and believe that chicken slaughter is equivocal to the Holocaust. The deaths and injuries during a battle in WW II are listed. There is mention and slight description of an anti-Jewish rally. It is mentioned that a man died from cancer. Overall, some may find the indoctrination in the public schools and the children’s acceptance of the teachings disturbing.

Religious Issues: There is a lot of discussion about the Muslim doctrine and details about their religion, such as what they believe about Heaven and what their prayers say. Islam, Catholicism, Hinduism, Judaism, Pentecostals, Unitarianism, atheism, and the occult are mentioned. False philosophies like nihilism, evolution, secular humanism, and other false beliefs and philosophies are also mentioned, discussed, or sometimes even described in detail. Evolutionist, faith healers, the New Age movement and religion, and a rabbi are briefly mentioned. Atheistic philosophers are mentioned by name. The New King James Version of the Bible is used. “Ghost” is used for descriptive purposes.

Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: The Salem witch trials are briefly mentioned.

Others: Drinking and doing drugs underage and wine are mentioned, as well as the specific names for some of the drug. Socialism is mentioned, and its influence and growth is discussed.

Overall: I recommend this book for adults, but children and most teenagers may find the overload of information too much to handle or even traumatizing.

Movies

A Movie Review of Pete’s Dragon (2016)

Pete’s Dragon by James Whitaker (Producer) and David Lowry (Director)

Type: Fantasy

Basic Plot: Pete, an orphan, has been cared for by a dragon for six years. One day a little girl notices him, changing Pete’s and his dragon’s life forever.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: I felt like this was a mixture of Tarzan and Calvin and Hobbes. The story was a bit predictable, even though it wasn’t cliché. It moved at a good pace, though most of the movie was made up of slow, sentimental moments. If there had been fewer emotional moments, you probably would have been able to feel with the characters more.

Acting: 4/5 Well Done: The acting was believable. The actors were able to make you feel with the moment with their realistically calm and gentle tones and motions, but the continual sentimental-ness of the movie kind of made you take it all for granted.

Scenery and Music: 3½/5 Above Average: The scenes and costumes weren’t terrible or outstanding. They didn’t look fake or cheap in any way and at the same time weren’t overdone to the point of unrealism. The dragon was made with realistic fur. It looked like a part of nature almost. The only unreal thing was probably the eyes, as the eyes were expressive in a human like manner. Music was about average. It wasn’t played often or extremely memorable, but it also wasn’t played poorly or obnoxiously.

Moral: 2/5 No Clear Moral: After I finished watching this movie, I wondered what the purpose of it was. There wasn’t really any message in it. There were light traces of Your Parents Are Dumb and Your Neighbor’s Evil, as most of the adults never knew what to do when they had a problem, unlike the children.

Overall: 3/5 Average: In quality, when considering the story, it wasn’t terrible; it just didn’t seem to have a point. It felt a bit like a waste of time because of this. As for acting and details concerning the dragon animation, both were well done. In quality I think children five to twelve would like it best.

Moral Content

Official Rating: PG

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Immodesty and Slight Suggestiveness: A man and woman are living together and have a child before they are married. Pete’s thighs, back, and chest can be seen throughout the movie.

Violence: 1/5 Light Violence: A boy’s parents die in a car crash that is heard. The baggage flying through the air as it falls can be seen as well as the crushed car. A man tells a story about a dragon fight. Some men go in the forest to hunt a dragon. Some men shoot a dragon with darts and tie it with rope. A dragon knocks people over with its tail. A dragon breathes fire on a bridge and later falls through it with some people. A man slams his face against a window on accident. A girl falls from a tree and gets a scrape. It is not shown. A boy falls from a tree and gets knocked out from a head crash. A woman pushes a waitress. A dragon pushes over a construction vehicle. People reassure a little boy that they won’t hurt him.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Some Lightly Scary Content: There are a few crying sounds after a boy’s parents die. A dragon roars a bit scarily a few times. People and animals are afraid of the dragon. A boy asks if the dragon will eat him. Wolves howl and chase a boy through a dark forest. A bear roars at a boy, loudly but really scarily. A woman talks about her mom when she died, and characters talk about the death of Pete’s parents. Guns are aimed at a dragon. A dragon and a boy pass out at separate times.

Religious Issues: 0/5 None

Magic: 2/5 Fairy Tale Magic: The movie revolves around a boy who was raised by a dragon and whether it’s real or not. Dragons are shown in drawings and woodwork and a song is sung about them. A man talks about a magic feeling and deciding to trust it.

Others: A boy has shoulder length hair. The credit song is has an electric/classical style.

Overall: Personally, I’m a fan of dragons the way I’m a fan of witches, there is no such thing as a good dragon. I also didn’t like that two unmarried people were living together with their ten to eleven year old daughter and the fact that Pete’s was so underdressed. I don’t strongly recommend it for those reasons, but if someone had no problem watching it, I would recommend seven to eight and older as the dragon’s roaring may scare younger children.