Thursday, May 12, 2016

Forgiving My Daughter's Killer

Hi again. BookLook Bloggers provided this volume free in return for a review. 

This book is written by the mother whose teenage daughter was murdered by the daughter's teenage boyfriend. Nancy French, a co-writer of various conservative leaning books, helped. We hear the voice of the middle aged mom, who provides a very personal look inside her family and pain (at one point, she even explains her inability to have sex with her husband after the shooting). French also contributed to a Q&A at the end with the killer himself. 

The book is about family, faith and restorative justice. The author and her husband are the co-founders of the Ann Grosmaire (her daughter) "Be the Change" Fund, a charitable fund to promote forgiveness and restorative justice.  This is a form of justice that is based on three principles: crime is the violation of people and of interpersonal relationships, violations create obligations on the part of the offender and the central obligation is to right the wrongs. It fits in with the author's Catholic/Christian faith (her and her husband practicing different forms of Christianity over their lives) as well as being valuable to the victims as well as hopefully those who commit the crimes.  

It is a very good book though obviously hard to read, especially early on when basically it is waiting game for Ann to die (perhaps, this provides everyone a chance to get ready better in some small way).  Early on, though it isn't easy particularly for the father, the parents were open to forgive the killer.  I think the fact they knew him, there was some expectation he would actually marry Ann, factored in here.  Plus, the author (Kate) herself experienced death before -- as a child, her brother accidentally killed someone with their father's gun.  Still, her empathy is remarkable on some level, clearly, though there are other accounts of people who forgave a killer without having a personal connection with them beforehand.  I think some can "relate" with her a bit more on that end. Some might say "I couldn't do this" all the same.

The book tells a remarkable story as well as (without being heavy-handed or let's say overly angelic) talking about her faith through all of this tragedy.  It is well written and overall reads like a novel. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Feisty and Feminine : A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women

Hi again. BookLook Bloggers provided this volume free in return for a review. 

Let me be honest here. This book is not really a match to my ideological position. But, that is fine -- it's useful to read other points of view. Still, the audience of this book is not me. It basically is for conservative women, the biblical figure of Esther in particular used as a metaphor -- it is a guidebook for conservative women who want to defend their morality courageously or at least out in the open, at times in the face of adversity and criticism. It is not really, from my vantage point, exactly a means to convince the general reader that the conservative viewpoint is correct. The title itself is fair warning. 

I find this somewhat unfortunate. I do think, however, you have to review a book on its own terms, not on the terms you personally wish it to be. On its own terms, the book is pretty good. It is written by the CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, so the tone at times that suggests some average women out there struggling among experts (e.g., when she was a talking head on some t.v. show) is a bit much. Still, the book is written in a down to earth way that touches a range of issues in a way useful for the general reader. To be clear, "conservative" here has a specific Christian focus (well, sure; look at the publisher) and a chapter looks at the Israel issue in that fashion. Likewise, some might have different ideas of what "conservative" really means. 

But, if you want to read a book on the basic point of view of a conservative women, in part to hear the other side, this is a pretty good place to look. I give it an average rating (three stars) since it didn't impress me as superior and felt somewhat stereotypical. Which is fine really, but was a limiting thing. Till next time.