This book is certainly not the book for you if you are looking for "realism" and seeking to dwell on all the depressing things in life that many readeThis book is certainly not the book for you if you are looking for "realism" and seeking to dwell on all the depressing things in life that many readers seek to escape from. If you can manage a suspension of disbelief, then this is the book for you! If you want to be inspired by the possibilities of how human beings can grow and become more generous, read this book. If you love books for these reasons, then you will love this book, too.
The author eventually revealed which classic novel hers was modeled after in the final chapter. I had figured it out by the end of the first or second chapter, as it is one of my favorite classics. I savored the parallels into a new time and place, along with the multiple other classics references throughout the story. This is a bookworm's oasis!
Despite the connection to these other classics, the plot of Zevin's story stood on its own and drew me in. This is a story of unconditional love to cherish. I also figured out early on that the title character who owns the bookstore is African American, in case a potential reader out there finds that appealing. I certainly did!...more
A fast but meaningful read. The titular "white mother" experienced the worst kinds of human suffering, but it became quite apparent that she overcomeA fast but meaningful read. The titular "white mother" experienced the worst kinds of human suffering, but it became quite apparent that she overcome these obstacles with the compassion and strength of Jesus Christ. For young students assigned to read, I would warn that there is a lot of inappropriate "grownup" behavior in it. Generally I think it's a positive introduction to finding your identity despite your background, and being true to yourself. While there is some discussion of what it feels like to be black, primarily it's about being human, and the lives we are called to live. Also Mr. McBride portrays some very good men. we don't find that enough these days! It's very pure despite the painful recollections. A lot of 14 year olds might not fully understand, but I believe anyone who reads it will find that their heart has grown afterwards. ...more
Finally "read" it -- that is, I listened to unabridged audio version while crocheting. I claim it as one of my favorite Christian novels, second onlyFinally "read" it -- that is, I listened to unabridged audio version while crocheting. I claim it as one of my favorite Christian novels, second only to This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. Yes, that's right. I haven't read a novel that so clearly portrays grace and the power of the cross as well as Grisham's novel since I read This Present Darkness at age 14. The characters in Grisham's story, both good & bad ones, are expertly presented, flesh-and-blood human beings. Grisham has been a favorite of mine for about 20 years, mainly because he consistently portrays the good as genuinely good and the evil as what it is; no vagueness or gray areas, yet so credible. He has surpassed my expectations with The Testament. He is truly a master of storytelling. I pray blessings on him, and the revelation of truth to every lost & broken reader of his book. Eager to read my next Grisham novel!!!...more
I had listened to Kenneth Branagh read The Magician's Nephew, and even though this was Patrick Stewart, I doubted he could do as well as KB. He surpasI had listened to Kenneth Branagh read The Magician's Nephew, and even though this was Patrick Stewart, I doubted he could do as well as KB. He surpassed my expectations!...more
Received as a loaned kindle book this morning, and I read it all the way through. I did not find it succinctly organized and the style was a bit likeReceived as a loaned kindle book this morning, and I read it all the way through. I did not find it succinctly organized and the style was a bit like a stream of consciousness or an early draft. That's okay, though, because it was very much like having Dr. Rosaria B share her personal journals with me. Her authenticity and who she is clearly come across. Looking forward to reading the follow-up someday.
I liked and posted many quotes that I found relevant, which is more important for readers than my silly review.
One of the particular things she mentioned that I can apply in my own life is that she prays and worships while she is knitting. This is an aspiration for me with my crocheting. I do try to be careful what I'm listening to or watching as I create gifts and projects. As I work, the recipient is constantly on my mind, so I need to guard what inevitably becomes permanently blended with my work and with my thoughts of the other person. I want them to receive something surrounded by purity and joy.
I need a bit more time to digest some other points of Dr. Butterfield's that puzzled me, such as doing yoga. Perhaps she has never come across the facts about yoga, that it is not physical fitness but spiritual warfare. Emptying the mind is not something God ever calls His children to, nor the worship of Hindu gods and goddesses.
I can overlook this practice in Rosaria, especially considering that the major premise of her book is how we demonstrate the grace of Christ despite our differences or lack of comfort. We are not all equally convicted or at risk in the same ways as every other person at every season. However, we all are in need of the forgiveness of Christ and to keep our minds on him at all times.
Our journeys are as unique as we are, and often take unexpected turns and leaps. I loved sharing in the varying pathways of Rosaria's life, the evidence of Providence in them, how they come together as a whole, and yet the story is not finished. None of us arrive at our destinations until we get to heaven. Meanwhile, we can enrich each other's lives by openly dialoguing and respectfully disagreeing and humbly listening.
One other topic the author brought up was a couple of her close friends who "prayed for healing," who made great efforts to choose healing, but who remained lost. She did not explore this, about how God carried her towards wholeness where others seemed cut off. She did not reflect on this, but merely stated it. I wonder if she understood that their faith journeys are between them and God, and not her responsibility or even in her capacity to change them. Perhaps she addresses this in her follow up book.
Pastor Ken Smith's supernatural patience with Rosaria and his reliance on God for direction with her were to me the most valuable truth of this testimony. Throughout the pages describing her new life so far, Rosaria demonstrates her battle against pride by describing her heartfelt and constant prayers. She talks to God and listens for him in every new circumstance, every bump and jolt in the road. She keeps pressing on in faith, ready for the unexpected but trusting in its promised good....more
**spoiler alert** I recently ordered this book because my life skills coach/discipleship mentor had mentioned it several times over the past few years**spoiler alert** I recently ordered this book because my life skills coach/discipleship mentor had mentioned it several times over the past few years we've known each other. I decided to read it as I pondered whether or not it was okay to uncover secrets and hurts from the past, and I'm now convinced that it's important to say them out loud with a safe person, in order to heal. I'm not doing a "treatment" psychologists call "regression therapy," which is anti-biblical. What was missing or taken from me can be restored as I acknowledge these losses and learn the skills that I was unable to learn on my own. I'm becoming an adult emotionally as well as spiritually. The book affirmed what I'm doing in several ways. First, that I'm not the only one who took decades to say what actually happened and that I could not move on in life without some help. It showed me that others have taken a similar journey, over an unhurried length of time, heading toward the same place, of redemption and supernatural forgiveness, and a decluttered heart that has room to love others. Another truth I heard repeatedly in my mind as I read the book is how lavishly blessed I am, that the Lover and Redeemer of my soul has made himself known to me, through the dear friends he has brought into my life. They tell me the truth, they show me the way, and I'm coming back to life....more
A dear friend of mine bought Karen's book when she was offering them one summer in Ocean Grove, NJ. Karen was another one of the facilitators at "UndeA dear friend of mine bought Karen's book when she was offering them one summer in Ocean Grove, NJ. Karen was another one of the facilitators at "Under the Umbrella" women's Bible study in summer 2011. My friend knew it was just the book for me, and bought it right there on the beach from Karen. I have since passed it on to 2 other survivors of sexual abuse, who appreciated it very much. So that is a total of four of us who have moved further along on our journeys, with the help of Karen and her message. She keeps the focus on Christ, and her path out of darkness and into the light. She does not dwell so much on the traumas she experienced. I enjoyed sitting on the beach reading it, even though it was Long Island Sound and not the REAL beach! :) It's a book I've intended to read again, once I finally got through passing it on to others! It is once again in my possession, and now reading it again will be bittersweet. I've learned that a couple of days ago, the author reached the end of her healing journey, and is no longer in pain, with no more sorrow for eternity. Even so, her message here will go on. Thank you, Karen! ...more
These two young men (one pastor, one jock-turned-journalist) have carefully written a witty, unpretentious, thought-stirring book that answers the conThese two young men (one pastor, one jock-turned-journalist) have carefully written a witty, unpretentious, thought-stirring book that answers the confusing question, "What is the Emerging church?" (Among the non-leaders of the...whatever it is...are Brian McLaren of Solomon's Porch, Rob Bell of Nooma & Velvet Elvis, and Donald Miller of Blue Like Jazz fame--and fortune.) Great launching point for further reading. Available at Valley church library (when I return it there.)...more
Key quote [spoiler?]: "We longed for healing and happiness - as if happiness is a state of being. But it's not. Happiness is a vector. It's movement.Key quote [spoiler?]: "We longed for healing and happiness - as if happiness is a state of being. But it's not. Happiness is a vector. It's movement. Like my own momentum across the pool, joy can only be defined by the speed at which you're moving away from pain. ...Happily ever after? What a curse to have to endure!" (page 303)
Neal Shusterman's thought-provoking writing, with such dramatic, imaginative plots, makes reading more of his books irresistible. He is great at portraying opposing views simultaneously, so that you can't help stepping into the figurative shoes of others (if you're an Unwind you might literally be in someone else's shoes - hahaha). He is perhaps sympathetic to the gospel of Christ, for his title character "Bruiser" has obvious parallels to the Son of God. I also can't help thinking of the book of Job, and how this bearer of pain expresses himself through poetry.
This novel wrestles with some real and significant spiritual questions, such as: what if our pain - even our death - was taken away? "Would it free us or enslave us? Would it empower us or would it corrupt us? Could we resist the urge to abuse that power?" What does our pain mean for us, how does it help us grow?
Mr Shusterman believes that "our society is so much about either hiding or denying our emotional bad stuff." I'm not sure he has discovered that the good news of Christ is only GOOD after we grow transparent about the BAD that it takes away. The power of Christ's suffering - taking on all of our pain and even our death - cannot be fully appreciated until we bring into to the light our own pain and suffering and guilt, which He alone can heal us from. As long as we remain in denial, we are shallow, enslaved human beings, "addicted to painkillers" as the character Tennyson.
I also think of places like PCC and the IFB denomination, which proudly extinguish inner struggles and emotions in a sick and superficial way, as did Tennyson and Bronte's home. Parishioners of such a place lose their humanity, gradually becoming zombies on the prowl for anyone who still has a heartbeat. The tyrants in charge justify their behavior as God's truth, when really they have the ultimate fear of the truth of their own (and therefore anyone else's) pain.
My prayer and hope is that all of us, like Brewster, can find others to love us unconditionally, safe people that we can trust, to give us the courage to "take off our shirts" and let them see all of the scars. That is how we begin to heal. The story of self-sacrifice, such as this one, remains incomplete without the Cross of Christ.
"If your heart tells you something but your mind tells you something else, which do you believe? Both are just as apt to lie. In fact, they play at deceit all the time. Mostly they balance each other, giving us that crucial reality check. But what happens when they conspire together?" (page 297) If they conspire on the Truth, then comes the glory of Christ....more
The entire series was read aloud by my teacher to my class of third & fourth graders (1983-1984, FCCA). I read the first book on my own a few timeThe entire series was read aloud by my teacher to my class of third & fourth graders (1983-1984, FCCA). I read the first book on my own a few times, but I was inspired to read all of them on my own after the Wonderworks series presented their film adaptations of the first four (still the best film versions!) These books should be read in the order they were published. I don't understand the new "chronological order" thing. I don't think C. S. Lewis would approve....more