Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Everything She Didn't Say by Jane Kirkpatrick

Everything She Didn't Say

Jane Kirkpatrick has a notable skill when it comes to weaving together fact and fiction. Carrie "Dell" Strahorn calls out through Kirkpatrick's words inviting readers into the ups and downs of life in the old west.

In all honesty, Kirkpatrick's skill made this book a hard read for me. Carrie's wrestling to balance her life, manage her grief at lost dreams, and find a sense of home in a changing world are as real today as they were in Carrie's day. While maintaining close ties to her source material, Kirkpatrick allows Carrie's  story to show how much the heart remains the same through the years. She wasn't a cookie cutter heroine or an overly cleaned up ideal. While Carrie preferred to convey an optimistic outlook, fleshing out her marriage, financial, and social challenges made her present in the pages through celebration and heartbreak. Kirkpatrick's ability to meld research  and storytelling allows Carrie's voice to shine through the years.

I also enjoyed the chance to have real-life female inspiration for the protagonist. While historical fiction is, by far, my go-to genre, I can remember books referencing Robert Strahorn, never Carrie. I love seeing these stories come back into public awareness and the encouragement women can take, even from an inspired fiction.  

It is worth noting some readers may find Everything She Didn't Say a challenge to read compared to others in the genre. Carrie's existence as a real person means the outcomes of her experiences are not always as rosy or polished as Christian fiction and historical fiction tends to present. There are no quick fixes or nicely wrapped up stories.  Additionally, the chapters are shorter and often framed  around excerpts from Carrie's actual book Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage this leaves the book feeling choppy at times with more jarring transitions. 

4 out of 5 stars.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Monday, November 12, 2018

Parenting With Heart by Stephen James and Chip Dodd

Image result for Parenting With Heart by Stephen James and Chip Dodd

My husband and  I recently attending a parenting seminar by Brett Ullman. During his talk he informed us that most parents read more books to plan a trip to Disney than they do about parenting. In a way I understand this. There  are so many parenting books on the market today and most parents do not have an overabundance of spare time.

That's why I feel that Parenting with Heart could be an excellent starting point for many parents. One of the points I found most interesting with this book was the parent-focused instruction. So often parenting books seek to change the child's behaviour when, really, changing our own approach is often more effective. While some of the terminology was different, many of the principles James and Dodd described were quite similar to those discussed when I took some counselling classes in college. 

I also appreciated the  time James  and Dodd took to explain their approach the concept of "parenting with heart" of parenting for control, shame, guilt, etc . .  . There  is so much pressure on having the right type of kid  rather than  helping your kid mature and grow into the person they are gifted to be. Additionally, their "parenting with heart" style is also centered in relationship which is something, I think, a lot of families struggle to do well in our isolated society. The way they show how that relationship allows love, instruction, discipline, and  growth to naturally flow between both parties rather than an power focused struggle or an unbalanced best buds approach also makes a lot of sense without feeling any more overwhelming then parenting can often feel.

There were times when the chapters  felt, perhaps, too academic for a tired parent to want to wade through while their kids are sleeping but over all the information felt solid and I loved the parent centered focus as, in the end, our own behaviour is what we have the most influence over.

4.5 out of 5 stars

I received this book as part of the Revell Reads Tour.