Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bittersweet - Shauna Niequist

Title: Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
Author: Shauna Niequist
Publication Date: 7/14/2010
Pages: 252
Genre: Faith / Memoir / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I read another book by Niequist, Bread and Wine, earlier this year and wanted more. 
Date Completed: 6/24/17

Summary: Reflections on life, family, and friendship from Niequist. 

What I Thought: I really loved Niequist's Bread and Wine when I read it earlier this year. I mean, stick recipes in a book and I'm halfway to adoration already. Add in faith and some philosophical reflections? I'm sold. 

Once I finished that book, I knew immediately that I wanted to read more of Niequist's work. As with some of her peers, particularly Jen Hatmaker, Niequist makes me feel welcome at her table from miles away. As though I am walking into her home and being welcomed with delicious food, a cold beverage, and an open heart. It's a nice feeling to get from a memoir. I like knowing there are people out there who are living lives not dissimilar to mine. We are dreaming similar dreams, bearing similar burdens, and, simultaneously to those things, having totally different lives. There's a connection of the soul when I read the words of these women. I just know we'd get each other. Shared faith is a powerful connecting point. 

While I did not enjoy Bittersweet quite as much as Bread and Wine, I did really enjoy it. Niequist wrote it before the other book, so it was like taking a step back in time in some ways. Niequist again discusses her miscarriage. When writing this book, however, she had not yet experienced much of the pain that would come before the next book. Her words are still powerful and empowering, but it's hard to know that the woman who was writing them had so much pain still ahead of her. 

Partway through reading this book, I knew I needed to get copies of both it and Bread and Wine for a couple of my girlfriends who are dealing with fertility issues of their own. If they get nothing else from Niequist's writings (doubtful - these books are full of good stuff), I hope her words of pain are helpful and healing and encouraging to them. I hope they get that sense of camaraderie with Niequist that I feel about cooking and struggles with church and what makes a lifelong couple friendship. 

There aren't mind blowing theological revelations in here. That's not the type of faith book this is. Rather, Niequist celebrates the bitter and the sweet in our faith journey. Her story is a reminder of how God shows up on the regular days just like He shows up in the moments of intense emotion. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Possibly. I did buy it and give it to a friend. 
If You Liked This, Try: For the Love / Out of Sorts Love Does
Other Books By Shauna Niequist: Bread and Wine

A Reduced Review: A lovely memoir about life, faith, family, and the beauty of ordinary moments. 

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