From Publishers Weekly
Most readers know Kidd for her blockbuster novels, The Secret Life of Bees
and The Mermaid Chair
. Yet this nurse-turned-writer was known in traditional Christian circles for years for her inspirational essays and nonfiction spiritual memoirs (When the Heart Waits
) until she turned to a more nontraditional feminine spirituality (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
). In the introduction, Kidd admits it was difficult to go back and reread her earlier work with an eye to publication. But "[a] significant portion of my life can be understood as spiritual quest and the articulation of that experience." Gleaned from Guideposts
(for which she wrote for a dozen years), Weavings
and other publications, these essays point to Kidd's desire to pay attention to her soul, a "repository of the inner Divine, the truest part of us," from which so much of her writing sprang. The subjects have universal appeal: a child sharing a red scarf with a homeless man; the need for solitude; fishing with her grandfather; the joy and pain of sending a child to college. Most of the essays have a point, which is neatly explained. Kidd's lovely prose, passion for the spiritual life and early instincts for telling a compelling story should help this book attract a wide readership. (Oct.)
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Before her phenomenal success with the novels The Secret Life of Bees
(2001) and The Mermaid Chair
(2005), Kidd wrote inspirational stories, spiritual meditations, and personal essays for Guideposts,
an interfaith magazine founded by Norman Vincent Peale. Firstlight
collects these early writings for the first time. In the introduction, Kidd recalls with quiet amusement the day in 1978--her thirtieth birthday--when she calmly announced to her husband and two children that she was going to be a writer. In hindsight, she refers to this as her moment of "great absurdity . . . a hope so extravagant it seems completely foolish and implausible." Studying nursing at the time, she knew nothing about creative writing or whether she could write. To prove her seriousness, she enrolled in a writing class, and to her amazement, her first assignment was accepted by Guideposts.
The pieces collected here are thoughtful, moving, often luminous meditations on faith, family, death, and love; on compassion, solitude, and grace. Fans of Kidd's novels and of inspirational writing will appreciate them. June SawyersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved