I’m going to treat this #BookReview entry more like a Featured New Release of the Week column just because of what it is and why I’m reading it and when.
In reading Faith Unraveled by Rachel Held Evans today, I knew that today was the day of her funeral – announcements had been made a few days ago. And despite one final book coming from Rachel, likely this fall (she had finished writing it before the illness that ultimately took her life struck, from what I am told), I knew that this was effectively my way of saying goodbye to Rachel.
I never actually met Rachel, to my knowledge we were never so much as in the same city at the same time. But, as I do with Jonathan Merritt, I considered her a contemporary as we were all within a couple of years or so of the same age and were all raised in similar conservative evangelical environments in the same general region of planet earth. And like Merritt’s books, Evans’ spoke to my own journey even while actually speaking about hers, because we were all so similar. When I found Evans’ book Searching for Sunday a few years ago, I wanted to have Thor’s reaction to seeing Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok with virtually every sentence. It was simply transcendant, and I had finally found a contemporary who could speak that which even I found difficult to put into words at times. It was on the strength of that book that I jumped at the chance to help launch her next book, Inspired, last year. While that book hewed closer to Rachel’s beliefs that I didn’t share, I continued to hope that she would come back to the transcendence of Searching for Sunday, and particularly now that this followup to Inspired will be her last.
As I say in the Goodreads/ Amazon review below, this book shows several glimpses of being as amazing as Searching for Sunday was. In speaking of her early life and through college and into meeting Dan, her husband, she speaks to a lot of the same things that many young Christians were going through at those same points in those heady days of the 80s and 90s and early 2000s as the oldest of the Millenials grew up and came of age.
I never actually met Rachel, but I do know that the world is now just a little more dim without her in it – and I know that she will live on as long as her books do, if only in her writing and the memories of those she knew and who knew her.
And now, the Amazon/ Goodreads review:
Freshman Work Shows the Potential Author… Held. As I write this review, those who knew Rachel Held Evans during her nearly 38 years of life are gathering a few hundred miles away for her funeral, and numerous fans across the world are bringing up a site to watch the service on a livestream. But that’s just it, I consciously chose to read this book today as my own way of saying goodbye to Rachel – though I’m told that she had finished writing one final book before the illness struck her nearly two months ago and ultimately took her life.
The book itself was Rachel’s first, and it truly shows how good of a writer she was and it shows the beginnings of the transcendence that was Searching for Sunday, her third book. If you’ve ever wandered what Christianity might be like, if you’ve ever found yourself as a Christian doubting what you’d been raised to believe, if you’ve ever wondered if Christians truly are that… whatever, read this book. Rachel has a way of telling the story of her life but showing through her own journey just what Christianity might be like if we can just ignore the blowhards.
Truly an excellent work, and very much recommended.