Mo(u)rning Joy by Kalan Chapman Lloyd

Mo(u)rning Joy

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Lloyd (These Boots Are Made for Butt-Kickin’, 2015, etc.) tells how a tragedy kindled a deeper trust in God.

The author’s first son, Caswell, was stillborn, but she still had to endure a long, difficult labor—including an epidural and having her water manually broken. “This is stupid,” she says, in the jolting opening of this book. “This is stinkin’ 2012 and they haven’t figured out a way to get my dead baby out of my body without making me come to the labor and delivery ward.” Lloyd repeatedly cycles back to the circumstances of the delivery in between memories of her Oklahoma upbringing and of her husband, a fellow attorney, whom she met in Geneva, Switzerland. Her sarcastic, slang-filled Southern drawl pervades the first third of the text, with Lloyd announcing to “future pregnant friends,” “Don’t expect me to come to your baby showers” and labeling herself a “card-carrying member of the suck-it-up club.” The title chapter, however, shifts in tone to note how frequently the Bible mentions joy, and it feels sudden and forced. “Sure, I hearted Jesus,” Lloyd recalls, but Caswell’s stillbirth provoked a make-or-break situation: to survive, she realized that she had to develop a solid faith. Although she later became a mother of two, she learned that stillbirth and miscarriage were surprisingly common in her circle. Indeed, the primary worth of this memoir may be in reassuring readers with similar stories that they’re not alone and that transparency is the best policy: “those children exist. And they need to be acknowledged,” she says at one point. At another, she says, “People can deal. Or not.” Overall, the one- to five-page chapters sometimes resemble blog entries rather than a polished book, and a note of false cheer lingers throughout that detracts somewhat from the tragedy that prompted the writing. However, the chatty, between-girlfriends style (including such phrases as “Oh no she di-int,” “cray-cray,” and multiple hashtags) will appeal to fans of popular Christian writers such as Jen Hatmaker and Patsy Clairmont.

A short memoir that makes for pleasant reading but doesn’t quite strike a balance between snark and Christian optimism.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 2015
Page count: 153pp
Publisher: Lulu
Program: Kirkus Indie
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