In what has to be a personal record, I have finished reading a book with a current year copyright on January 12th of that current year. The book was Muse: Naked Truth Poses Again by David L. Hatton. The author and I have corresponded sporadically over many years, and when I saw the synopsis of his new novel, releasing on January 2, 2022, I was immediately interested. The new book is very much a faith-based novel, but it deals with the subject of body freedom, body positivity, and modeling nude for art classes, a job I’ve done and loved since 1984.
The book arrived the same day I got home from my latest RV hauling trip, and it took me three days to read it. I was struck by how many similarities there were to my novel Life Models. Both novels feature a male character grieving over the recent loss of a spouse, revolve around nude models who are also Christians, and describe characters who have to deal with the issue of abortion. Unlike Muse, Life Models is not a faith based novel, although some of my characters deal with issues of faith. My book also features a graphic sex scene, described the way it is because of what happens later. The characters in Muse: Naked Truth Poses Again are much more devout in their Christian faith and practice than anyone I know in my regular life other than clergy and certainly more than any of the characters I’ve created and written about.
I don’t normally read faith-based fiction, and I’ve never even considered writing it. What little I have read seems too on-the-nose regarding dialogue and presenting a certain message. The dialogue is especially limited as the words that some (not all) characters would say in anger and frustration (i.e. cuss words) are verboten in Christian fiction. Those limitations apply to Muse, but the message of Hatton’s book, that restricting even the mere sight of nudity in our art and culture leads to an unhealthy sexualization of God’s greatest creation, is so unique in Christian literature and important to us all, that the limitations can be overlooked. In fact, reading Muse: Naked Truth Poses Again presented me with new insights into my own relationship with my wife and the way our culture approaches romantic attraction in general. It has strengthened my resolve to follow Christ more devoutly.
2 thoughts on “Muse”
Thanks so much for blogging a review of my novel, brother. Both your analysis and your comparison of my idealistic bent with your more culturally realistic approach are on the mark. As stated in my “Preface,” my incessant message of “body acceptance” is aimed at a Christians who desperately need to look into Naked Truth’s mirror. My “faith-based” language is natural to me, and I do hope it gets other believers reading. But they won’t read far before finding how hard I come down verbally—as a prophet should—on the porno-prudery that is being idolatrously embraced as sound Christian doctrine.
My novel included autobiographical elements, like mystical experiences with Jesus. That drew fire from a naturist who said I’d strayed from orthodoxy by elevating “experience above Scripture.” Well, my unwitting critic has set above Scripture his own “experience” of missing what I’ve enjoyed in my “faith” journey, for the Bible’s full of such mystical encounters. So really, my “faith-based” style is an expressive transparency rather than a strategic conformity, whether I’m presenting body acceptance or Christ’s will for our spiritual walk. I really do strive with all that’s in me to follow Him in His prayer: “Not my will but Yours be done.”