Unsqueezed is Starbuck’s wrestling with that double whammy. She offers a humorous yet surprisingly sharp examination of the ways that women, specifically Christian women, fixate on physical beauty.
“When I started writing the book, I wanted to say that appearances don’t matter at all,” Starbuck told me in an interview for Her.meneutics. “My editor looked at me with my crazy tie-dye and painted boots and nose ring, and she said, ‘Well, it seems like you put a certain degree of energy into your appearance.’ ”
So instead, Starbuck explores what moderation looks like and overcoming what she calls the “binding preoccupation with self.” The preoccupation begins with a fear: “the silent question of the human heart . . . am I acceptable?” a question that’s only aggravated by modern advertising. The theme of acceptance will also be familiar to readers of Starbuck’s first book, The Girl in the Orange Dress: Searching for a Father Who Does Not Fail, which explored her difficulty believing that God accepted her. Accepting that God is “for us” frees us up to be “for” others, Starbuck says. Unsqueezed and her next book — which she tells me she’s already working on — examine the idea of acceptance in depth.