Back in January, I wrote a review of Abby Johnson's book Unplanned about her journey from being on the staff of Planned Parenthood to the other side of the fence. If you'd like to read my review, you can find it here: http://lovetopaint.blogspot.com/2011/01/first-must-read-of-year.html
When I heard a DVD was going to be released, I looked forward to the chance to see it and review it. Well, that chance came.
Tyndale has made a documentary of Abby Johnson's story. It features her and her family speaking. Other folks who prayed for her and reached out to her from the pro-life movement are also seen sharing their parts in the story.
When I started watching the movie, I was immediately struck by the thought that "this film is very culturally Texan". After living in all the regions of the U.S., I'm often struck by the huge differences in how people present themselves and communicate across our country. When Abby Johnson came on the screen, I was immediately reminded that she lives in Texas because of her appearance. She also spoke very differently than I expected her to. I realize now that I expected her to be very dynamic, emotional, and passionate about her story--I daresay I even expected her to cry. I cry every time I think of my miscarriage. But, Abby didn't cry when she spoke of her abortions--she spoke of it very matter of factly as if it was something that simply happened. I don't know that an abortion is ever something that simply happens. One friend mentioned to me that how she tells her story may be in part her own emotional protection. She has told her story many times and has spoken to groups across the nation. If she felt that deep pain every time she spoke, it may be too much to bear. I don't know. I'm not in her shoes.
I do still highly recommend the book. A friend of mine who read and loved the book saw a clip from this film and she was as surprised as I was. She didn't enjoy it, either. She was particularly struck by Abby's lack of emotion in the clip she saw. She pointed out to me that Abby Johnson did write the book with a co-author, Cindy Lambert. I want to believe that the book would not have reflected a regret and a feeling of responsibility for her decisions if Abby didn't feel that way. In the book, I felt like I was listening to a friend share her story and her grief. In watching the movie, I felt like I was watching a celebrity on the news. There was a disconnection for me. I'm just not sure quite what to think of all of it. In talking about this quandary of mine with my friend Kim, she pointed out to me that books are able to deal well with multiple layers and facets of a story, whereas film is much more one dimensional. I was struck most by what Abby and Cindy share in the book about how to love people who believe differently than you do. That is a layer to Abby's story that I didn't hear in the film.
If you are interested in seeing Abby Johnson speak, Unite for Life is doing a free Webcast featuring Abby Johnson that will benefit pregnancy care organizations. You can sign up to participate on May 17 at 8 pm. (in all time zones) at www.uniteforlifewebcast.org
I am sorry that I needed to write a negative review of this video. Writing negative reviews is one of the hardest things I do in blogging, but I need to be honest. If I wasn't, anyone reading this blog wouldn't trust me when I'm giving positive reviews. They might think that I only write positive reviews--which just isn't the case.
I do have a certificate for a free copy of this review to give to a reader of my blog. I would be glad to send it to the first person who emails me (see my contact info.) that they would like to have a copy this DVD.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this DVD from Tyndale publishing for review.