I haven’t written enough books to be blasé about book reviews. I am grateful for every one of them, particularly if the authors have nice things to say.
I’ve been very fortunate to have received good reviews for my second book, Catholic Women Confront Their Church: Stories of Hurt and Hope (Rowman & Littlefield).
Last summer, Publishers Weekly put it on its list of top ten religious titles coming out in the fall. And then PW followed up with both a very positive review, concluding with this observation: These thought-provoking profiles brim with hope and concern for the future of the Catholic Church.”
PW profiled me, as well. And the well-respect independent online publication Religion Dispatches did an email interview with me. I quite liked the thought-provoking questions they pose to writers.
The American Library Association’s Booklist also praised the book, saying the stories of the women I profiled present a “nuanced account of women in the American Church today and offer models for those who experience both deep belief and religious structural doubt.”
And just today, word of another positive review from Catholic Books Review. The reviewer, a sociologist and retired professor, offered a thoughtful commentary on my book. I was happy that she so well grasped its core message about faith and hope.
As terrific as these reviews are, I am equally, if not more, pleased when readers let me know how much they’ve enjoyed the book. One reader stayed up all night to finish the book. Another wept over the stories of some of the women I profiled and their struggles with the institutional church. Others have told me that they found their feelings expressed within its pages. Another reader told me that she intended to get all the members of her book club to buy the book so they could discuss it together!
I didn’t write this book to start a revolution. But I am hopeful that it may begin conversations among Catholic women. We need to talk to one another. We have been silent too long.