The Atonement Child: A Summary

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The Atonement Child…what a book, what a topic to take on. Francine Rivers takes this difficult subject on like a champ, and while some may say that this is not her best novel, I have always appreciated the story concept. Even in her early novels, it was clear that Rivers had God-given talent. We here at Box Office Revolution believe that it is time for this novel to grace the big screen with it’s presence. The Atonement Child covers subjects such as abortion, rape, Christianity, the sanctity of human life, tragedy, generational sin, marriage, parent-child relationships, sickness, selfishness, selflessness, and unconditional love. The opening sequence sets a nostalgic scene, featuring a young Christian college student who is finishing her night shift and heading back to her dorm. She bids farewell to her boss, declines the offer of a ride home, and heads out into the darkness on foot. When Dynah is almost back to her college, tragedy strikes, she is attacked by a stranger whose face she never sees. Her resulting pregnancy, and other events that follow, will change her life and the lives of those she loves forever. When Dynah’s ‘pro-life’ fiance learns she is pregnant, he suddenly decides that abortion is acceptable after all. Most of her friends tell her that it is okay to have an abortion because she didn’t love the father, and her parents are too horrified and occupied with their own problems to be of any help to her. To top it all off, the dean of the college kicks her out because he feels that her situation would be an embarrassment to their fine institution. There is, however, one person who cares about Dynah and secretly loves her unconditionally, but he is afraid to tell her how he feels. Eventually Dynah realizes that the only way she can think clearly is to get away from all the voices telling her what they think she should do. What will Dynah decide? While the ending of this novel is somewhat rushed, the spirit of the story is upheld. I think that Rivers could have taken the time to add a few additional chapters, therefore giving more depth to other subplots. However, in film context this is a small problem that could be easily fixed with the right writer and director. The writer/director would have to be careful to use original content, and adapt the film to clearly communicate the message to today’s audience. In the right hands, The Atonement Child could be an amazing movie. That being said, this is a project I would like to see the Erwins or one of their offshoots take on, as either one has the talent and resources to make this novel a great film. In conclusion, if you want to make a movie that will give people an honest look at problems in the church pro-life culture, look to this novel for inspiration.

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