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Joni: An Unforgettable Story

by Joni Eareckson Tada
185 pages, Biography/History
Reviewed by Nienna

Good, God-focused true story.

Plot

Note: This book is subtitled An Unforgettable Story.

Written shortly after her first "Today Show" appearance that shot up her publicity, Joni is the honest confession of a normal Christian woman with abnormal circumstances. Beginning with the accident that paralyzed her from the neck down, with occasional flashbacks to the previous years, Joni covers the following eight years, ending with the beginning of her rise to publicity. Though it discusses some of the practical parts of her injuring and recovery, the book focuses on her spiritual journey throughout it all.

Morality

Very good and Bible-based. Joni and others struggle with their sin nature and do wrong things sometimes, but these are shown as wrong and the focus is brought back to the Bible and Christ.

Spiritual Content

Joni, her family, and friends are Christians, and the focus of the story is her spiritual journey through all this. There is a lot of Scripture brought in and discussions about God. What she learns and how she grows is applicable to all believers.

Violence

Joni breaks her neck and is in danger of dying. People she knows die. She has some severe depressions, and wants to kill herself. A bitter nurse threatens her, and hurts her arm. She talks to a man who had both his hands burned off. It is stated that a man had killed his wife.

Drug and Alcohol Content

A few people smoke cigarettes, which Joni dislikes. She tells one smoker that it could kill her through lung cancer.

Sexual Content

Joni and her boyfriend before her accident find their passion for each other uncontrollable, but this is not detailed, and they ended their relationship because of it. She had a strongly Christian boyfriend at the time of her accident, and they kiss and hug a lot, which Joni (as the narrator) says was foolish, if not wrong. Later, she falls in love with another young man and, after being more cautious to begin with, kisses and becomes emotionally dependent on him. They desire to get married, and discuss sex briefly (mainly him saying that he doesn't need it).
Joni learns to depend on God alone, and be content with singlehood.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

There are several instances where people swear, but the words are not written, or (with the minor ones) are blanked out except the first letter, like so: h---.

Joni gets her bathing suit cut off when she first comes into the hospital, and she feels uncomfortable. She has to use a catheter and that is discussed briefly.

Conclusion

An excellent read with love for Christ shining through, 'Joni' is suitable for most teenagers and adults. Dealing with real life issues, and the depths of despair, it is not a pat "God got me through it" but the testimony of how He got her through it, so that she could say at the time of writing that she was truly thankful for everything that had happened. The situations with her three boyfriends, while making the book only suitable for more mature readers, are very insightful. I particularly appreciated how these real-life stories showed that a couple can be focused on God in their relationship and self-sacrificing for each other, and still shouldn't get married.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: adult

Review Rating:

Average rating: 4 stars
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