Real stories, as told by Udoh-Grossfurthner, from real women with faith in their lives.
Udoh-Grossfurthner’s book claims to tell “unbelievable” stories, and it does—each of the five women’s stories told are, at times, astonishing. With hardships ranging from barrenness to abuse, the women’s stories have one common thread—faith becomes a lifeline. After being driven to desperation by all manner of heartache at the hands of the world, their communities or their partners, all five women turn to their faith for hope. Udoh-Grossfurthner’s book is for Christians, even if it hopes to be a book for any suffering person of any faith and background. Most stories contain a dizzying amount of references to Scripture, which would be difficult to wade through for nonbelievers. Still, the collection triumphs over other inspirational story collections due to its unique vantage point—Udoh-Grossfurthner is Nigerian and lives in Vienna, Austria. None of the stories she relates are about Westerners. The unique cultural elements of each story help lend new interest to familiar plotlines. For instance, Silvana’s inability to conceive is doubly difficult in a Nigerian context, where blame is generally cast on the woman; most men’s families will begin scheming for a childless man to impregnate a different woman when his wife can’t bear a child. Though unpolished, the gripping stories are quick reads. Udoh-Grossfurthner tells each story in the woman’s voice, which creates an intimate, if less engaging, tone. In addition, Western readers might have a difficult time understanding the ultraconservative views shared by some of the women profiled. Nonetheless, those seeking comfort might find it here.
Hopeful but not for everyone.