Book Review: The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

With the opening line of a book blurb, is “I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.” I did not know what to expect. Would this more “The Last Temptation Christ” or the “The Da Vinci Code” sensationalism? What I found was the story of Ana. a complete person and not an accessory of history.

I appreciate the research and care that Sue Monk Kidd brought to this work of fiction. When I finished the book, I had to sit and ponder the last 50 pages of the book. I have to admit I was a bit miffed with what was and was not included in this novel. I reread the author’s notes a couple of times, searched for interviews and listened to her on Brene Borwn’s podcast.  The longer I sat with and explored my unease, the more I appreciated the care and respect Kidd brings to this book. She stayed focused on the main character, Ana, and does not venture into the Biblical Gospels. In the author’s notes she mentions that there is no record of Jesus from the age 12 until 30. She used this as a springboard for her writing. 

I really appreciate books that open up rabbit holes for me to explore and offer ideas for me to consider. I have been revisiting the Gnostic Gospels, the Council of Nicasea and how what is accepted as the Bible came to be.  Almost two weeks after finishing, I am still thinking about his book.

I always wondered where the women were in the Sunday school stories. Why where they only represented in servitude or as fallen women? This book lets me know I’m not the only one wondering about the role of women and if there is a broader story than what has come to be accepted a doctrine.

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