RELATION EDUCATION HANDBOOK by Maggie Lane

RELATION EDUCATION HANDBOOK

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Lane’s deeply spiritual relationship with God touches each of these short, essayistic considerations of life’s facets, from acceptance to children to respect to self-discipline.

Lane has structured this book as an abecedarium, starting with reflections on acceptance and wending her way to wisdom and words. As in her earlier Relation Education Journal (2011), there is a strong infusion of Christianity—“Only the Spirit of Christ will lead our souls to freedom.” Still, there is never anything less than an abiding sense of inclusiveness, an invitation for all to dip into her thoughts in hopes that readers may partake of ideas that will be preventative, rather than having to partake in a long recovery process. The writing has a uniform polish to it, striving for an economy of expression, but not at the expense of burrowing into her topics, going deep, bringing her appreciation of God to bear, tendering her experiences, thinking and feeling her way to some crux. For instance, she starts her thoughts on right and wrong with a quick broadside against selfishness, then follows a thread to appearance (“Whether we appear right or wrong has more to do with the one who is looking.”) and then awareness (“when we are aware, our choices need to be bringing goodness and happiness to others…and that includes making good choices for ourselves.”) As in her earlier book, there is much to pull from these pages even if you do not share her Christianity. She has wise, often overlooked things to say about shaping character when young—“Start when they are young, with close-ended choices and their sense of cause and effect…develops along with great character”—though readers may quibble with “Character can only be learned in the formative years, otherwise consequences become the teacher.” Can’t one learn through consequences? But then Lane is all about engagement and never shies from tackling a topic; witness her frank and sprightly comments on sexuality.

Robust, unflinching thoughts on piloting life through all the reefs and shoals, whether you cherry pick her ideas or devour them whole.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1453748930
Page count: 590pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: