Release Date: June 21, 2013
Pages: 238 pages
Source & Format: NetGalley; e-ARC
Amazon | Goodreads
Summary (from Goodreads)
Tindell Baldwin's words best describe her passion and this book:
"My heart is for teenage girls because my story is much like so many of theirs. I was just a girl who made a lot of mistakes. I was a girl who had sex before marriage and then had a broken heart. I was a girl who was desperate to be popular. A girl who, like so many others, didn't know the dark side of sin. So my aim is to reach teenage girls, and through an honest account of my darkest sins, show them what they are up against. My heart is that teens would hear my story and flee to Christ. My greatest desire is that God would be glorified above all else."
Through a two-part journey ("Dark" and "Light"), Tindell describes how she said goodbye to her family's God and pursued popularity at all costs while climbing the social chain in high school. During a night of partying, she even encountered the man suspected of killing Natalee Holloway in Aruba. But God did not leave Tindell. The "Light" part of her story shows how she reconnected with God, changed her ways, and discovered abundant and real life through Christ.
Thoughts on Popular
Although I'm not a teenage girl and not necessarily the target audience for this book, I knew I wanted to read Tindell's story. She grew up in a family with parents who loved each other, loved Jesus and raised their kids to glorify Him. I was actually familiar with her brother's name because he is a well-known worship leader at a church here in Georgia. So, I was intrigued and wanter to hear her story.
In her teenage years, Tindell started rebelling against her parents and their rules. She didn't see anything wrong with the choices she wanted to make, and she wanted to be liked by others. Her desire to be popular caused her to turn her back on the things she'd been raised to believe. In her memoir, she calls this period "Dark." Tindell doesn't hold anything back in telling her story. She's honest and vulnerable, and you can absolutely see her heart on every page. It almost reads like a diary, and I think that made this a particularly powerful section of her book.
In the "Light" section, she describes her life and her heart after she'd truly come to know the Lord. It almost brought me to tears when she talked about finding forgiveness and grace because you can see her joy. It's truly a transformation! I was struck by a line that talked about how God forgives sin, but He doesn't take away the memory of it. I could feel her pain and regret, but her made her journey to redemption all the sweeter.
For anyone who feels like they've gone too far or made too many mistakes, Tindell brings a message of hope, of love and of restoration. But she's also honest about the consequences of her choices. Her book didn't read like a warning message to teens. It felt like someone sitting down over coffee and just sharing their story and pouring out their heart. She talks about finding a truly fulfilling life - one that isn't about the rules but is rooted in a relationship. Popular is like a conversation put to paper.
If I have anything negative to say about the book, it's only that I don't know if teens who are actually making these same choices would read it. While I think they could likely relate to the emotions and experience she describes, I don't know that they'd be open to taking the time to read Popular. Either way, I think her message would resonate with them if they did.
On so many levels, I loved this book. While I've had different experiences in my life, I still found her relatable and refreshing in her honesty. Tindell knows that she's not perfect and has truly seen the power of grace in her life.
Popular is a powerful testimony, and I love how God can use Tindell's story to touch others' lives. I think it's incredibly courageous of her to put her darkest moments out there for the world to see, and I hope that others will be touched by her message of redemption and grace.
"God has never won people over with dos and dont's; He wins them over with His compassion and love. And then, after He wins their hearts, He guides them to a more fulfilling life. The rules are nothing; the relationship is everything."
*I received a copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way for my review.