Author: Laju Iren
Law School did a lot of weird things to my mind; some so weird that I’m only just finding out as I relate with normal people. But as much as it tried, I was still in the right frame of mind to pre-order Pastor Laju Iren’s book – Selfies With Bible Girls. I won’t lie, it was one of the things that kept me going as I studied for my exams. I’d say, ‘To read the book, I must have it; To have it, I must be in Lagos (considering that I did not order for delivery but a pick-up); To be in Lagos, I must have left Yola; To leave Yola, I must be done with exams.’
I’m not even joking.
I finally finished the book today and boy, am I happy I read it!
Before I go into what the book is about, I’ll like to talk about two strange things that happened to me as I was reading it:
- I was able to read it in cars: I don’t know how to stress this enough so I’ll just write it in caps: I HAVE NEVER KNOWN HOW TO READ IN A MOVING VEHICLE. I’m more of a ‘look outside the window and glare at everything’ person when I’m in a vehicle. In fact, there was a time in the University when I was in a cab rushing for an examination I wasn’t so prepared for. I had my jotter in my hand and I really needed to cram and catch up. Instead, I just stared out the window and looked at people as they hurried to their exam halls. See ehn, even in planes, my reading only lasts for like 10 minutes after which I’ll start to feel sleepy and so I’ll stare at the clouds – basically at nothingness.
But ‘Selfies with Bible Girls’ was so different! I read 75% of the book in Danfos and cars. I just kept flipping from one page to another; the attractiveness of the world outside the window notwithstanding. It’s a miracle!
- Goosebumps!!! : I had goosebumps all throughout my read. At first, I thought it was because I was wearing a sleeveless top and was sitting by the window in a fast moving Danfo. But under the duvet in my house, my skin still rose in response to the awe I felt reading the book. It was so constant, I began to feel irritated with myself and urged myself to finish the book quickly. (Like, Boro, why so dramatic? Goosebumps don’t work like this.)
Now that you know what the book did to me, let me tell you what the book is about. The book is generally a rendition of stories from the Bible. The focus here, however is on women in the Bible. So we have Sarah, Anna, Lydia, Priscilla, Deborah, Mary and so on; even some Bible women you’ve never heard of! Pastor Laju takes each of these women’s stories and tells them in a way that they descend from the ‘OMG, Bible Times and Archaic Era’ pedestal you have in your head, and they sashay towards you and have you thinking, ‘I totally know this! I understand this! Heck, I’ve lived it, felt this. Oh! This is the answer to this question’
My fingers are dancing all around my keyboard because a lot is running through my mind on what to say about the book. I saw people and situations in a way that I have never seen before and the crazy thing is that most of these stories are popular stories we know. What Pastor Laju does anyway is that she makes it so easy for the reader to not just be familiar with the story, but to interact with it; it’s like having a feel and touch and smell session with the characters.
Another major MAJOR thing I learnt from the book is how everything points to Jesus. I remember one time, my pastor (who happens to be Pastor Laju’s husband) said something like, ‘You know you’re reading the Bible well when everything points to Jesus Christ; even the Old Testament.’ I remember I was challenged by that statement and resolved to keep it in mind every time I read my Bible or listen to a sermon. ‘Selfies With Bible Girls’ helps with that! From page to page, you will see Jesus. In stories that sound the most unlikely to reveal Him, you will see Jesus. From women you’d never expect to be associated with Him, you will see Jesus. And the good thing is, Pastor Laju does not just let you imagine Jesus, she shows you how He is visible in these people’s stories.
Obviously, I love the writing style employed in this book as well. Like I said in a previous post, writers who are able to write simply and at the same time intelligently gain all my respect, and Pastor Laju has over-gained mine. This is particularly because, I have a section on this blog dedicated to retelling Bible stories and I know how intricate it can be; how you cannot just start writing what you wish. So yes, I really respect her for the freedom she employed in writing this book and at the same time the restraint and discipline to stick to the truth.
My favorite characters in the book were Aquila and Priscilla (Lol… I had the most goosebumps for them, basically). I think I was mostly in awe of their team work in ministry. In my head, that’s EXACTLY how marriage is meant to be, and I guess I had subconsciously been looking for a life example to validate my theory. Thank you Aquila and Pricilla, we’ll talk more in Heaven.
I don’t know why people say this book is only for girls. No idea why. Boys need to read it as well, except they believe there’s nothing they can learn from women. (*squinting the squint I squint when I’m about to talk about sexism*)
This is the longest ‘Not A Review’ I have done and I don’t feel like I’ve even done justice. This is why you should get the book if you have not already done so. You’ll love it.
What I loved about the book:
- That the Message was not compromised for relatability: A book with ‘Selfies’ in the title already promises that it’ll be hip and cool and all those things you young people boast about now. And this book was! Yet, it’s also a good book to give someone who wants to hear the plain undiluted TRUTH about Jesus. It beats me!
- The quality of the book: I love hardcopy books. I love hardcover books. This hardcopy book is hardcover. Imagine my joy! Apart from that, it is designed so beautifully; inside and outside (just like me :P).
What I disliked about the book:
- I’m not even saying this because she’s my pastor but… the thing I disliked the most about the book was that it was so good that I refused to fill the ‘Reflection Questions’ segments because I was sure I’ll be lending it out to people and I didn’t know whether I’ll be comfortable with them seeing my answers. Now I have empty answer spaces in my book. 🙁
So yes! Read the book!