Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mini-reviews: Lessons in Belonging and Love Warrior

Erin Lane is probably the poster girl for going to church. Her husband is a pastor and she recently graduated from seminary. But she finds it surprisingly difficult to fit in at a church. Her knowledge of theology makes her bristle in the face of ignorance about church practices, and she is decidedly uncomfortable with platitudes and superficial social interactions.  In Lessons In Belonging, Lane tries to find out if there is a place in the church for a smart feminist troublemaker with a penchant for asking lots of questions.

There are an abundance of spiritual memoirs from people in their 20s and 30s who feel that it is difficult to belong in the churches of their childhood. It's so much easier to just leave when someone lets you down or hurts you. But Lane discovers that disillusionment is the first step in belonging. Just like any other relationship, being a part of a church means being vulnerable, truthful, and willing to pick your battles and love in spite of your differences. Lane doesn't pretend to have all of the answers, but her questions will seem very familiar to many people who both love the church and feel like they sometimes don't belong there.

Lessons in Belonging From A Church-Going Commitment Phobe
By Erin Lane
IVP Books December 2014
208 pages
Read via Netgalley

Glennon Doyle Melton was feeling good about her life. She loved her family, and had a much beloved blog and a NYT bestselling book. But then she found out that her husband had been cheating on her for years. Everything she thought she knew about herself, her life, and her family seemed to explode around her and she found herself at rock bottom. But Glennon remembered that she had been here before, as a young woman who was an alcoholic and bulimic and held a positive pregnancy test in her hand. In this memoir, we follow a woman as she starts over again to learn who she is, what she believes, and what she will do to fight for love.

This book has been overshadowed by the reality that writing about your life always means writing about the past. As Love Warrior comes to its end, the author has learned a lot about herself and has hope for the future of her marriage. But this manuscript was completed several years ago. As Glennon currently promotes this book, she has separated from her husband and is currently dating Abby Wombach. In spite of the changes to her life since finishing this book, the story itself holds up as raw and beautiful. She writes about the ways that we compromise who we are to fit into perceptions of who we should be and the truth that we must know and love ourselves before we can truly love and know others. If you are in the midst of heartbreak, this is your book. If you have read and loved Glennon's writing before, this is her best work yet.

Love Warrior
By Glennon Doyle Melton
St. Martin's Press September 2016
272 pages
From my shelves


  1. Awesome reviews! I have a thing for memoirs and hadn't heard of these women authors before. Once way,they are similar, both searching for the right
    answers. But their endings were different. I want to say one holds on and one gave up, but I don't know Glennon's situation. Maybe there was no other solution than to let go.

  2. I enjoy reading memoirs, these books look really good. I am an atheist now-a-days, but I understand the struggles that might come from knowing too much about your religion.
    I also like the idea of reading a "raw and beautiful" story that still holds true, even though the authors situation has changed. Great reviews!

  3. I must read Lessons In Belonging. I have had some similar experiences as the author, and it sounds like similar struggles in life as far as fitting into church. I have a real thing for memoirs lately too, so yay.