Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book Review: Fresh Elastic for Stretched-Out Moms
Author: Barbara Johnson
Date: 1986
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell
ISBN: 0-8007-5203-1
Length: 185 pages, with “diploma”
Quote: “Barbara Johnson understands the hopelessness that you experience when your children choose rebellious life-styles, commit suicide, or severely hurt you in some other manner.”
That’s from the publishers’ blurb, not from Barbara Johnson, but that’s the kind of “book of consolation” this is. Johnson “has been God’s love and the therapy of laughter and assures us that we too can learn to laugh and live again.” Some people have found this book helpful; it's a bestseller. It contains Bible references as well as jokes, cartoons, verse, and family stories.
My personal feeling is that if I’d had a son (or, given my age, an older brother) who was killed in Vietnam, and then another son (or brother) who declared himself homosexual, my priority would have been opposing the draft rather than composing a book of the kind of verse, jokes, and cartoons that used to be tacked up on psychotherapists’ bulletin boards...but many women credit Johnson’s “Spatula Ministries” with having helped them survive their heartaches, and this book was written for them. 

I can offer this tip: Whether a woman loves this book or hates it, she should hide it from the men in her life. The phrase “Stretched-Out Moms” tends not to suggest spiritual “uplift” or emotional consolation to them. 

However, the contents of Fresh Elastic include lots of material that can be used to make lectures easier to listen to. Some of it's laugh-out-loud funny, and some of it's not funny at all. Johnson avoided interdenominational controversy well; this book could be useful to any kind of Christian teacher. Non-Christian teachers could also use it, but it's not written for them.

Barbara Johnson no longer needs the $1 she'd get if you paid $5 for the book + $5 shipping to buy Fresh Elastic from me online. Better prices are available, so if you're an online shopper, go ahead and buy it from someone else. (If you're a local lurker who doesn't order things online, I can still order it for you.)