It’s officially been 597 years since my last post. But today seems like a good day to tell you about a book I read. In the interest of full disclosure I feel like I should tell you that I received my copy free from Revell Publishing with the agreement that I would post a review here.
Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home, by Amber C. Haines
Amber’s writing is, well, lovely. It’s like a sigh – all airy and spacious and full of images. Quite lovely indeed. In the book she describes her love for the language and everything about the book backs her up. I love that.
Now the hard part…I have been torn about writing this review: I have personally committed to only putting good stuff out there. There are plenty of haters and arguers and critics without me joining the fight. I don’t believe this is the right place for it. Outside of relationship, negativity loses its value, often becoming acidic harpy-ness or angry rants. Not for me. And at first, I didn’t love this book. But I had agreed to write this before they sent me the book. And right next to my personal commitment to put good stuff out there is my commitment to honor my word. Oh dear.
Insert days of stewing over this,
conversations about it with my sister,
deliberating and just plain procrastinating and here we are.
What I didn’t love is this: in her beautiful writing she describes a broken church. Kind of critically. And it seems too easy. We can all criticize God’s saved sinners. I mean, come on. How is that hard? If you’ve ever been to an American church, ever met a believer, you can already tell me what she said. And that doesn’t feel good to me. Her points are completely fair and valid, and likely they are pretty accurate too but I want to read a book about how the church is redeemed, how we-worked-through-the-hard-stuff-and-this-is-where-we-landed. But that’s not this book.
What this book is, is about her personal story and I’m not sure she could have told it without being critical first since that comes the closest to explaining how she got the to the redemption at the end. Which means, if you, like me, find the beginning of the book frustrating because you can find critical descriptions of the Bride of Christ any day of the week, (on your Facebook page for crying out loud!) then I would encourage you to stick with it to the end. Somewhere in chapter 12 it turned a corner for me and became not about what-is-wrong-with-the-church but what-your-life-in-Christ can be. And that made all the difference for me. What I thought was a negative, take-the-easy-way, criticism, became a book about redemption and hope and healing. I finally saw myself in her honest descriptions and quit feeling as though it was my job to defend the whole community of faith.
As a whole, the book is engaging, easy to read, lyric in its prose but challenging in its subject matter. At the end of the day, it’s not my favorite but I applaud her honesty and remarkable vulnerability that revealed a pretty awesome and strong woman of God.