Broadman & Holman
This autobiography of Sally Klein O’Connor, titled Beauty in the Beast, follows the emotional journey of a lonely girl with a scarred body to a daughter of Christ who radiates inner beauty. At a young age, O’Connor was attacked by a vicious dog, leaving her with prominent scars on her face. The nicknames she received thereafter left her with an insecure nature and empty soul. Her purpose in writing her life story is to help others who feel worthless to see the value they hold in their Creator’s eyes, and how they can live a life of value and merit.
The book follows a series of revelations and life transformations experienced by O’Connor, though not always in chronological order. She writes candidly about her feelings and agonies, allowing readers to scrutinize every aspect of her life. This is the same message she shares across America, speaking in churches and at women’s retreats. O’Connor also writes and performs songs that explain her story of redemption. Often, after a concert or speech, she is approached by women with tears of appreciation in their eyes.
Written primarily for women between ages 17 and 55, the primary function of Beauty in the Beast is to convince readers that their identity—including beauty, self-worth, and goals—rests in Christ. The world will feed women lies about the need to be a “perfect 10,” but O’Connor says it is better to rest in the promise of Psalm 34:4-5, which says, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant with joy; their face will never be ashamed.” Bible verses are referenced throughout this book, as well as stanzas from O’Connor’s songs, and snippets of prose that relate to the topic of a particular chapter.
This book would be excellent for teenage girls and women who are insecure about their image. Overall, the book is well written, although at times it belabors already-established points, or offers too many examples and becomes tedious. The strongest aspect of the story is O’Connor’s complete honesty and openness, which leads the reader to trust her advice. She is right when she insists that there is far too great an emphasis on exterior beauty in today’s world. It is not one’s reflection in a mirror that is as important as one’s reflection of Christ in his or her life. This book would make a good gift as a college graduation present, and it should be found in church libraries. -- Molly Schnepel, Christian Book Previews.com
For those who look into mirrors and see only what they are not.
Finding your true identity in Christ.
When she was eight years old, Sally was bitten by a dog. The encounter with this “beast” left a semicircular scar from the corner of her eye to the edge of her mouth. However, the “beast” of the cruelty of children left another scar on Sally, a scar on her image of herself, as they taunted her and called her “Scarface.” She bought into the lie that she was not good enough, smart enough, beautiful, or loveable. But the real Beast used the lies to try and ravage Sally’s soul.
But her Prince, the real Beauty—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—has come to her rescue, restoring in her what the “beast” had tried to devour. She no longer sees “Scarface” in the mirror, but instead she sees the beauty of the one who lives inside her mended soul.