John Green is an icon for young adult literature. His plethora of best-sellers tug at the heart strings and present unforgettable characters.
But his books often have characters that reject or make fun of Christianity. They also contain references to sex and under-age drinking as well as more profanity than most conservative Christians are comfortable reading.
Although some have reservations about John Green’s books, there are four reasons why we should read his work.
- He is a professing Christian.
Non-Christians can produce excellent literature with redemptive themes just as easily as Christians. We can see beauty in literature that doesn’t have the “Christian” label (that’s what this blog is all about!). But we should be aware that Green knows the true story of the Bible and those truths are strung throughout his narratives.
- He writes well.
John Green is easy to read and writes relatable characters. His insight into the world of teenagers is rare and valuable. His ability to create literature that is engaging is beautiful. Talent and art are inspiring, and it can lead us to the one who creates talent and art.
- He accurately portrays teenagers.
Authors who do this give us a view into who these people are, how they think about God, and what questions they are asking. Green’s books help us to see into the minds of those who need the gospel, and that helps us know what they need and how we can reach them.
- He writes about relationships.
Green’s books show the importance of authentic relationships. The books contain stories about real people who learn to live alongside other real people. One character in Green’s book Paper Towns remarks, “It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined.” This is what the Christian life is all about: Living life as a broken person in relationship with other broken people, trying to see them for who they really are.