Female-centric novel addresses issues of image and confidence

Photo by Breezy Baldwin

Christa Black is a multi-platinum-selling songwriter, has appeared on stage with the Jonas Brothers, Michael W. Smith and Jordin Sparks and is currently touring the world as the keynote speaker for Women of Faith’s Revolve Tour. However, in addition to her impressive career in the music industry, Black has made her mark in the world of literature. In her recent autobiographical book God Loves Ugly & Love Makes Beautiful, Black reveals her powerful journey from self-hatred and destruction to love and acceptance. Her practical suggestions on how to successfully navigate a path to healing are meant to inspire introspection and change.

Black was first sexually abused at age three. Her well-guarded secret festered into feelings of guilt, shame and unworthiness of love. To compensate, Black became an overachiever. She had to be perfect to hide the imperfection on the inside. She then fell into a repeated pattern of depression, drug addictions and eating disorders.

Eventually, she became the target for bullies, and in her fragile state she believed every harsh comment they made. During a church revival her senior year of high school, Black experienced the love of Jesus Christ, but it was not until four years later that she experienced her real breakthrough, when she finally faced the truth and admitted herself into a rehabilitation facility.

Black’s story is spilled across the pages of God Loves Ugly, and though the author clearly states her troubles, the details are left to the imagination of the reader. Black relates a story of pain that does not discriminate. She focuses on a few key points: people tend to judge a behavior without knowing the reasons why it exists, bad behavior is a symptom of your belief system and one will emulate what one believes about oneself. Black wants those in pain to change how they see themselves.

Though her religion was her source of strength, Black’s story can benefit many people regardless of faith in a higher being. However, she does leave out a major target audience: men. Because the book is also a memoir, it is understandable that men would assume that the story would not be personally beneficial. Yet, men experience pain the same as women. Men suffer from personal tragedy and lack healthy self-images just as women, and unfortunately, Black fails to address these issues.

Additionally, the epilogue, “Insight into Nutrition,” is misleading. According to the American Psychological Association, “certain psychological factors and personality traits may predispose people to developing eating disorders. Many people with eating disorders suffer from low self-esteem, feelings of helplessness and intense dissatisfaction with the way they look.”

Including general information on nutrition leads to the assumption that it is the lack of knowledge that causes eating disorders or that knowledge of nutrition alone can cure the disorder. Black should have omitted the epilogue or given further explanations.

On the whole, though, Black inspires faith, hope and love through her text. She relates her story in an conversational style that readers of all ages can understand.

Black makes no claim to be a professional psychiatrist or to have all the answers. She just wants to reach out to those in pain, to let them know that they are not alone and that healing and love are within their reach.