A passionate and warmly readable mixture of Christian Bible study and autobiography of faith.

WELL OF LIVING WATER

THE STORY OF A MAN WHO WAS GOD

A storyteller's account of the gifts of Christian faith.

Coldicutt’s debut is an intriguing mixture of fiction and memoir, beginning with her personal story of being a retired teacher and mother of four who had noticed for many years the sense of peace and happiness her Christian friends seemed to feel in their faith. “[Jesus] seemed so real to them,” she writes, “as if they’d just been talking to Him.” The blessings of the Christian faith revealed themselves to her in 1986: “After years of running my life on MY terms, I gave it to Jesus and asked Him if He would make a better job of it than I had done.” In the ensuing pages of her narrative, Coldicutt reflects often on her life and faith while mixing in fictional characters and scenarios that involve, for example, a teenage girl’s admitting she’s pregnant, a middle-aged couple’s dealing with a rebellious daughter, and an ambitious software executive’s hoping to have a discreet abortion without her husband’s knowledge. She also includes reflections on Gospel narratives, as when she fleshes out the story of Mary telling Joseph that she’s pregnant. Coldicutt nicely puts it: “[Joseph] drew her gently to a rough-hewn bench he was halfway through planing, swept the shavings off it and sat down with her.” Throughout these vignettes, Coldicutt regularly lists questions for discussion or further thought, such as, “Why was it necessary for God Incarnate to be born in a cave, wrapped in a blanket and placed in a rock-hewn manger?” The centerpiece of these inventions is the author’s dramatization of the famous incident in John 4 in which Jesus talks with a Samarian woman at a well and eventually reveals to her that He is, in fact, the Messiah. “Now she understood,” Coldicutt writes. “This bubbling sensation within her, this was the spring he had spoken of.…Things would never be the same.” This sense of immediate personal transformation runs throughout the book and will doubtless make it very inviting reading for the author's target Christian audience.

A passionate and warmly readable mixture of Christian Bible study and autobiography of faith.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Urlink Print & Media, LLC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2020

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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