Fireproof Book The Love Dare Tops NYT Bestseller List

The Love Dare wasn't actually a real book at first.  The 40-day marriage saving devotional/self-help book was originally a plot device in a small-budget Christian film called Fireproof.  But when preview audiences screened the movie they clamored for information on where to find the book.

And so the creators of the movie wrote a book to reflect what the characters in the movie were applying to their fictional marital distress, and The Love Dare was born. (Click here for the book's Web site.)

That little plot device has now made it to the top of the New York Times Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous Paperback best seller list.  Not a bad achievement for a movie afterthought.

Also remarkable is the fact that the movie, Fireproof, and the book it spawned use biblical principles to help save failing marriages and those messages are resonating broadly in the mainstream.  Fireproof's surprising success at the box office has been the subject of news stories on CNN, ABC and even in the New York Times.  The film, made by a Sherwood Baptist church in Albany, Georgia for $500,000, has grossed more than $20 million over the four weeks it has been in release.

With the best-seller success of The Love Dare, the real impact of Fireproof takes on a new dimension.  Clearly, all the people buying the book haven't seen the movie since it is playing on fewer than 1,000 screens nationwide.  Those early screening audiences probably had no idea that their request for the book would lead to a mass-market triumph. 

A story by the Christian Broadcasting Network about the book's success quoted one of the  publishers who said the average book in America sells 5,000 copies.  He noted that before Fireproof premiered in theatres in late September 300,000 copies of the book had already been sold.  The Love Dare is now in its seventh printing.

The success of The Love Dare was reported by the Christian Broadcasting Network on October 20. 

Before its widespread demand, the book was merely a plot device in the surprise-hit Christian movie, Fireproof.

In the film, fireman Caleb Holt (played by Kirk Cameron) is asked by his father to take a 40-day marriage challenge before divorcing his wife, Catherine (played by Erin Bethea).

The challenge is presented in the form of a book, The Love Dare, which Holt agrees to read and which eventually transforms him and his view of love, marriage, and faith.

According to Provident Films, the movie's promoters, pre-screenings for Fireproof left audiences asking, "How can I get the book?"

In response, brothers and associate pastors Alex and Stephen Kendrick, who together directed and produced Fireproof and penned The Love Dare, made the effort to release the book with the film's opening.

"We shut out the world and wrote for several weeks," Stephen Kendrick said in a statement. "We weren't expecting such demand so early."

The Web site for The Love Dare states:

 “Too many marriages end when someone says, 'I've fallen out of love with you' or 'I don't love you anymore.' In reality, such statements reveal a lack of understanding about the fundamental nature of true love.”


The Love Dare provides “the keys to finding true intimacy and developing a dynamic marriage” and uses an approach similar to another Christian best-seller – The Purpose Driven Life – 40 days of “guided devotional experience” to help spouses heal their marriage.

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.