Review: The Book of Longings

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I had no idea what to expect from this book, having only read the synopsis. I was raised loosely Christian, but having lapsed well before adulthood, much of the story of Jesus is a mystery to me.

And so it remained. For this book wasn’t about him or his life directly (it especially wasn’t about any of his purported miracles, as this book focused on his humanity, not his deification). It was about Ana, his (non-canonical) wife. She served as a stand-in for all the women silenced during the time, whether in the Bible or in history, due to their sex. Her relationships with other women in the book was a highlight for me. The things each woman offered to the narrative illustrated well how women were marginalized, overlooked, and forgotten during this era. Even Ana’s cold mother represented the unfairness (or lack) of marital rights for women.

I am not Christian. If anything, I’m anti-religion. But this book was about women and their relationships with their gods, not a narrative solely featuring Christ’s time among humanity. As a feminist, I found it powerful, significant, and captivating. I highly recommend The Book of Longings.

Dates read: December 15-19, 2021

It’s been almost a month since I finished The Book of Longings and it’s still sticking with me. Sometimes I forget that Ana wasn’t a real person, such was this character’s impact on me.

I haven’t read any of Sue Monk Kidd’s other books, though I have a few on my TBR shelf. The Book of Longings really impressed me, though.

I’d love to know pretty much anyone’s thoughts on this book, but I’m particularly interested in the thoughts devout Christians of who have read this one. Does the thought of Jesus having a wife (Mary Magdalene, Ana, or otherwise) offend you? How did you receive The Book of Longings?

Til next time,

-Emjay

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