“Dance from Deep Within” by D.L. Sleiman
Review copy through WhiteFire publishers
My rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
About the Book:
Despite her conservative Muslim heritage, Layla Al-Rai longs for a chance to earn her degree in engineering and perhaps even…dare she dream…to choose her own husband. But young women from her background rarely enjoy such freedoms. When she finally talks her parents into letting her attend college, she is drawn to fellow twenty-something students, Allie and Rain, over a class project. Allie, the blonde ballerina, faces her own struggles as she deals with an ex-fiancé and a church she had hoped to leave behind. Rain, the bi-racial hippie chick, longs for something to believe in, but her questioning could cost her the love of her life. When Layla s childhood sweetheart reenters her world, it seems her dreams might become real. Until everything falls apart. When she meets truth face to face, will she find the courage to accept it even if it requires the ultimate sacrifice?
I hate that I have to give this such a low rating. :(
I love the authors other books (published under Dina Sleiman), and had every hope and expectation that this one would become a favourite too. And I did really like how it was written, and it was easy to follow along with, easy to understand the characters, and I enjoyed their stories, really I did. But the spiritual basis – there was too much that made me uncomfortable.
Each of the three characters, Layla, Allie, and Rain, are searching for Truth in their own ways. They are each very diverse, come from very different backgrounds, but they form a tight bond which each other. And I loved their friendship.
But, as I said, their spiritual beliefs, in the end, did not seem Biblical to me. It was as they treated God too casual. There is a Nicole Nordemon song that says “Let me not forget to tremble” before the Lord. And that song continued to pop itself into my mind as I felt unsettled about various parts of the book. Yes, Jesus is always with us, always here, but He is still Lord. We still owe Him our reverence, because He is Holy. And I felt that the Holiness was missing here.
Also, I was very uncomfortable with the fact that, throughout the book, it was continually referenced that Yahweh and “Allah” were one and the same God. And I cannot agree with that. Their characteristics alone are not similar, they are not the same God. There is only One True God. Yahweh, I Am.
I appreciate Layla’s dedication to what she believed was ‘God’, but do not feel she was worshiping the true God.
Of each of the characters, I think Rain was my favourite – the hippie. A lot of her story was one that pulled on your heart, and her searching was real, and realistic. If I read the second book, it would be because of her.
This is not to say I didn’t enjoy the other two – I rooted for Layla and her story, and Allie to find her own healing too. But I didn’t care for Allie’s view on faith, with all the death-metal vibes, and laissez faire attitude about God.
And the use of the Message Bible made my heart weep. I know a review is not really the place for such a discussion, but I cannot let it go unmentioned that this version takes out the reverence and Holiness of God. The verses used…they are such a far distance from the real Truth, and yes, made my soul sorrow.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.