Open Season, a Book Review, a Holiness Struggle

February 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Posted in Books and Movies, Devotional thoughts, Wisdom | 2 Comments

One of the books I read on vacation was C.J. Box, Open Season.  I had been told by some of my acquaintances from Wyoming that this series, about a Wyoming game warden is a good read.  It was a great and well-written story, but I struggled with it on a different level.  In the early part of the book, some friends of the main character, Joe Pickett, a married man committed to his family, were trying to convince him that sleeping with women other than his wife is a good thing.  Not that they had a conversation about it, but throughout the first third of the book, there were numerous comments directed that way.  That wouldn’t have been so bad, especially since the main character proved to be a man of integrity, but the discussions didn’t have to be so explicit.   At the same time I was reading the book, I was also reading through Leviticus and Numbers and noticing how God had a tougher standard of holiness for the priests.  Now I’m not a Jewish priest, but I do believe that God still sets certain people aside for special purposes.  So as a preaching pastor I should have a high standard of holiness.  I wondered, as I read a couple of portions of the book, whether I should be reading it at all.

Here is the struggle.  For novel reading, I could limit myself to only Christian fiction.  There are numerous books in that category that I have read and enjoyed, but I’ve also found some of them to be unreal; the characters are too good, and they don’t face real-life issues.  Yet in Open Season, I found a character who faced real-life temptation, as men often do, with the kinds of real-life discussions that men often have.  And he was a great role model in that he resisted those temptations.  All that sounds so good, but I was still put off by the explicit discussions.

I share this because maybe some of you have had the same debates in your own minds.  It is not about this one book in particular as much as it is about what standards we should set, about how to be in the world but not of the world.  Maybe some readers can comment on how they handle these matters.

With all that said, here are a few quotes from the book.  My Wyoming friends will appreciate the second and third ones.  The first one is fun, and the last one is very insightful.

Grandmother Missy had come to the conclusion that everyone in the family loved her lasagna.  The fact that no one finished dinner hadn’t changed her mind.  The truth was that the only person who liked Grandmother Missy’s lasagna was Grandmother Missy herself.  p. 212

Spring.  Or at least what passed for spring in Wyoming, a place with only three legitimate but not independent seasons: summer, fall, and winter.  Spring was something that occurred in other places, places where flowers pushed up from the soil during May when it warmed, places where leaves budded and opened on hardwood; places where flowers exposed themselves like sacrifices to the sun.  Places where it was unlikely that after those leaves and flowers emerged, 10 inches of heavy, wet, and unpredicted snow would fall and would cynically, sneeringly, kill every living thing in sight and stop all movement.  p. 269

Wyomingites, Joe had observed, didn’t know what to do when it rained except get out of it, watch it through the window, and wait for it to go away.  The same people who chained up all four tires and drove through horizontal snowstorms and bucked snowdrifts just to go have lunch in town during the winter had no clue what to do when it rained. . . .  Few people owned umbrellas.  Fewer yet would let themselves be seen with an umbrella open because it would appear urban and pretentious, and the only rain slickers he ever saw were rolled up neatly and tied to the backs of saddles, where they generally remained.  p.119

To hunt and fish in the State of Wyoming, Joe thought, people were required to buy licenses and, in some cases, pass tests that proved they knew how to use firearms and knew Game and Fish regulations. There were no such requirements for having children.  p. 157


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  1. But, you know that if you open an umbrella at any time in Wyoming, the wind will immediately turn it inside out and thus render it useless. So, why even try?

  2. Don’t we know it! To this day I can’t talk myself into carrying an umbrella no matter what the weather — a Wyoming native quirk I guess!

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