“Book of Longings” is my first book review and my first historical religious fiction book I have read for leisure. This book was so empowering as a woman, and I gave it a good solid 4 stars. Why not a 5-star review? Well, it did have a slow build-up, but once you were midway through the book, there was no way of putting the book down. This is also my first Sue Monk Kidd book I have read, and I enjoyed her style of telling the story.
If you ever wondered what the story would be like if Jesus had a wife in his lifetime, this is the book to read. Mrs. Kidd does a fantastic job intertwining the storyline of what is said that Jesus went through, but with a sweet twist of a woman by his side. We are introduced to Ana, the main character of the story. She is a teenager with struggles of finding herself and expressing her needs and wants in a society with nothing cut out for her besides being someone’s wife. We see her grow as an individual and learn from those women around her to be the best she could be.
The story takes place when women were punished and wrongfully accused of things that could cause them exile, abuse, or even death without concrete proof. Each city we get to explore in the story gives a glimpse of the different interactions and lives women had. It was very empowering to witness that even if women were not equal, they did go out of the box to have a sense of purpose. Which to me, is what this book was about, being able to find that sense of purpose of oneself regardless of the obstacles you may face.
What really fascinated me about the story was that regardless of the period being anti-feminism, it explored the behind the scenes things women had to do to survive this unjust world. There is little documentation to really trace women’s involvement in this time of the world, but Kidd did incredible detailing it. You get a sense of empathy for what Mary, Jesus’ mother, and family member experienced the day of his crucifixion.
I did enjoy the journey Ana took us in and being a part of the different phases of her life. Even her life after Jesus is no longer a part of her life due to circumstances. If you are looking for a historical-based book with a religious context, this is the book to get.