I’ll set myself monthly reading goals in 2022. You can see the 9 books I chose to read in January here.
So far I’m very excited to say that I’ve already got two from the stack + an audiobook ready and I’m reading three more and hope to have them ready next week! YAY!
My honest reviews from this week
Here are my honest reviews of the three books I read last week:
Note: You can track the books I’m finishing this year and my star ratings on GoodReads. Books are also rated on a 1-5 star scale. I basically won’t finish a book if it has a star (not worth my time!) And I will rarely give a book a 5 star rating unless it was just absolutely amazing or life changing.
A friend encouraged me to read this book because it is the story of a mother who gives birth to a baby with Down syndrome and her first honest year coping with this unexpected news – grieving, learning, and finding joy .
As I read it, I thought a lot about Baby D’s mother and what it must have been like for her to find out that her son had Down syndrome after he was born. It has given me a lot more empathy and compassion for her and many other mothers who have walked and are walking a similar path.
That said, I felt like the book had a lot of fluff – as if it was about to hit a word count that her publisher had given her, so all she had to do was add a number of not very related side stories and superficial anecdotes to get that word count meeting. For this reason I have flown over a few sections.
Furthermore, it was not written from a Christian perspective or out of a belief in God’s sovereignty or fidelity. I think a huge part was missing.
And finally, there was a lot of abuse in the book. It felt over the top and unnecessary and overly dramatic to me. Hence my 2-star overall rating.
Rating: 2 stars
The story of you
I’ve loved other books by Ian Morgan Cron and I loved this book because it goes into the narrative and stories we often tell each other from childhood that shape our beliefs, actions, reactions, and luggage – often without us even notice it.
Although I’ve found many helpful nuggets in it, especially when it comes to understanding and relating to others, the book fell mostly flat for me. I think the main reason was that it wasn’t gospel aligned or grounded. Although it partially acknowledges the Lord and a relationship with Him, it was a very diminished version of what I believe the gospel is.
True heart change and true wholeness and true change in our negative narrative can only come when we understand that we are wholly in Christ. THAT allows us to change from within and to step into the fullness of all that God has called us to do.
For those who are Christians, I believe that it is impossible without a remarkable work of grace in our hearts and without fully trusting fully in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Moreover, from this deep awareness it comes from how much we are loved by God and how much we are forgiven by God. When we grasp the depth of it, it changes who we are and how we live.
Rating: 3 stars
The Way It Should Be (Audiobook)
This book was recommended to me by a follower who said she heard it on Libby (my favorite app for downloading free audiobooks). I checked Libby right away and it was available – so I downloaded it. Within a few chapters, I was invested in the story.
It is a fictional account of a mother whose children are fostered and placed with her sister, from whom she is estranged. It records multiple points of view of the care system – and I found it really nice to bring out what birth parents go through, what children in foster care go through, what it’s like to be foster parents, how hard it is to break free from addiction , and how we must all show more grace and kindness and believe the best of others.
If you want to get some insight into caring for a foster family and don’t want to read a non-fiction book, I highly recommend this book. I think it will help you better understand what the care system is like (it’s messy and flawed), the emotions foster parents go through (also messy and flawed – and a big emotional roller coaster ride!), And how difficult it is for physicals Parents struggling with addictions (there are no easy solutions or answers – especially when there have been years of unhealthy relationships and their stories are layered that usually exist).
My only gripe would be that I felt that some of the characters were a little too perfect and some of the character and story development felt that they were missing. But for the most part, it was raw and real and not frosted, and I was honestly surprised how I personally understood so much of the story and emotion with what we went through in foster care.
Rating: 4 stars
A movie we saw this week
Clifford: The big red dog
I had seen some trailers for this movie and thought it would be a fun family movie – especially one that Kierstyn could enjoy since she loves dogs. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good movie in terms of kids / family movies. I got a feeling that it was probably aimed at elementary school kids.
It had some funny parts, it wasn’t entirely predictable, and I always wanted to watch (which I often don’t!). Note: There are some scenes in which children are not friendly to each other and some “slapstick violence” (read more here). If you have sensitive children this is probably not a good choice as there are some scenes that could feel intense or disturbing.