“The Heart of the Matter” by Graham Greene

the heart of the matter

“If I could just arrange for her happiness first, he thought, and in the confusing night he forgot what experience had taught him – that no human being can really understand another, and no one can arrange another’s happiness” (p. 85).

There are two things that concern Scobie most: love and faith. Overshadowing both of these things is his ultimate desire for happiness, a desire that consumes and manipulates him. Because no one can arrange another’s happiness, Scobie’s dogged insistence upon making others happy leads only to heartache and destruction.

It is exactly this heartache that brings him to abandon and desecrate the idea of a good God: “that was the mystery, to reconcile [suffering] with the love of God” (p. 121).

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"Love Does" by Bob Goff

Love Does NYT.indd

This is a hard review for me to write. On the one hand, I disagreed with a lot of this book and would not recommend it to others. On the other hand, if I were to meet Bob Goff in person, I know for a fact I would love him.

There are almost 2,000 reviews for this book on Amazon. Eighty-six percent of these reviewers have given it a 5/5 rating. That’s a ton of people who have loved and seemingly benefitted from it. This fact, combined with Bob Goff’s laudable character as well as my dissent, are what make this a very difficult review. I’m writing it out of sincere respect for Bob and everyone else who loved it, but also out of honesty.

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“Hausfrau” by Jill Essbaum

hausfrau

“Hausfrau” by Jill Essbaum

Anna is a passive woman. She blames everything wrong with her life on this one flaw. It’s a passivity that controls everything, from the decisions she makes (or fails to make), to her desperate longing to believe in predestination (she doesn’t have to choose!), to her detachment from Swiss culture, to the way she gives herself up effortlessly to every one of her desires. An American expat living in Switzerland, she is a mother of three and endures a joyless, passionless marriage. She is depressed and lonely and suffocated by her misery. So she self-medicates the only way she knows how: by self-destructing. By having sex with men who are not her husband. Continue reading

“Ex Libris” by Anne Fadiman

ex libris

“Ex Libris” by Anne Fadiman (1998)

This review is posted under “Memoir,” but Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader isn’t memoir. Where memoir often attempts to bring healing or closure to part of an author’s past, Ex Libris provides general commentary on the life of a book addict. This is a collection of short essays about books, each one weaving a bit of Anne Fadiman’s story into it. Continue reading

"The Fruitful Life" by Jerry Bridges

I’m currently in one of those ruts where I don’t really have an appetite for the Bible. It’s a terrible rut to be in, and one that Christ’s grace has wrenched me out of too many times to count. Though there is no sufficient substitute for the power of the Word, I am immensely grateful for spiritual books in these times. They are a life ring of sorts, thrown around me, keeping me afloat and pulling me closer and closer towards my Savior. This book served me in such a way.

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