Fresh, inspiring words for the faithful.


Musings of an Unlettered Faith

A series of lively and engaging reflections on faith, belief, and science.

Not didactic yet unafraid of taking on Christianity’s biggest questions, Sutherland (On Reasonable Religion, 2006) divides multifaceted faith-based musings into clever alphabetized chapters. He’s equally comfortable with great thinkers and pop culture. His comfortable, nonlecturing voice provides a welcome companion to a parade of ideas about faith (and some about science) and what Christianity should be, all arranged in chapters from “Alchemical?” to “Zygotic?” He includes meditations, Bible verses, parables, and folk tales, some quite grim, such as a tale about adopting a wolverine. “Even the smallest detail of our spirituality must not be taken lightly,” he says. Still, the author writes in a chatty style as he ranges from ideas culled from René Descartes and C.S. Lewis. He doesn’t hesitate to quote from thinkers as disparate as Cardinal Richelieu, Alexander Pope, and George Carlin as he muses about the big questions regarding life, God, and death: “Live every day as if it were your last, because one day you’ll be right.” His appealing collection of meditations might inspire others to ponder their own beliefs as they consider in what ways the Bible might truly be an “instruction manual for life.” Of his own life, still a work in progress, the author admits, “A quest I have far too recently begun to undertake is finding a greater purpose for the life God has granted me than to spend it stewing over each rejection and slight I face.” For now, he says, it’s either writing or teaching. As seen from a Protestant Christian perspective, he succeeds here in doing both.

Fresh, inspiring words for the faithful.

Pub Date: July 1, 2015


Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2015

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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