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Firstlight: The Early Inspirational Writings of Sue Monk Kidd Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 10, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: GuidepostsBooks (October 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824947061
  • ASIN: B0018SUHBA
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #999,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Sue Monk Kidd's first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has sold nearly six million copies, and was chosen as the 2004 BookSense Paperback Book of the Year and Good Morning America's "Read This!" Book Club pick. It was adapted into an award-winning movie in 2008. Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, a #1 New York Times bestseller, won the 2005 Quill Book Award for Best General Fiction and was adapted into a television movie. Her novels have been published in more than thirty countries. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs and the recipient of many awards, including a Poets & Writers Award. She lives near Charleston, South Carolina.

Customer Reviews

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Beautiful reflections by deep thinking author.
H. McConnell
She shares with us the stories that have touched her, affected her in a deep way.
Story Circle Book Reviews
I read this book several years ago, and recently re-read it.
Rose

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. L. Ferle on October 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having admired Sue Monk Kidd's nonfiction for years, I was thrilled at the chance to dip into her early essays -- and wasn't disappointed. This nicely arranged collection reveals Sue's gift for illuminating the sacred in life's most ordinary moments while it offers a tender glimpse into her early vocations as wife, mother, and nurse. Also included are pieces hinting at Kidd's spiritual struggles and epiphanies, which she expanded upon later in WHEN THE HEART WAITS and DANCE OF THE DISSIDENT DAUGHTER. This book is a lovely gift to all of us who've admired the work of this beloved author. It can be read and savored a little at a time, and will serve as a reminder to pause and appreciate the beauty in our own lives. -- Cindy La Ferle, author of WRITING HOME.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Leslie C on November 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Kidd's early writings are a sweet read. While there is nothing earth- shatteringly new in this book, it is still a lovely book of personal stories by the author that the reader can savor, one story at a time. The book serves as a reminder that we can each find joy, love, peace and spirituality in all things in life.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wilson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Sue Monk Kidd provided one of my favorite novels in recent years, with "The Secret Life of Bees." She wrote with grace, spiritual symbolism, and an embracing of life's offerings, good and bad. Here, in "Firstlight," she shows those same abilities with the written word.

Collected from early inspirational writings, particularly those published in Guideposts magazine, these chapters reflect a lifelong journey of discovery. Kidd has been a nurse, a mother, a wife, and a writer, and these experiences have not only shaped her, they've brought about moments of clarity and widsom through seemingly mundane things. Kidd has a crisp, yet smooth, style that allows the lessons of life to jump from the pages. She finds examples of God's love and mercy in homeless people, butterflies, storms, and lightning bugs.

For those of us who enjoy the raw, in-your-face honesty of an Anne Lamott, "Firstlight" can seem a bit saccharine at times. There is very little time given to the struggles and questions of life, althought Kidd does admit to having them. Being a true Southerner, she chooses to focus on the good, packaging the thorny questions in soft cushiony thoughts. All in all, this is a great contemplative book. Not so deep as to be unfathomable, but rich enough to be mulled over for days.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By BookManBookWoman TV REVIEWS on November 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Fans of the author of The Secret Life of Bees will love this book. A great insight into Kidd as she shares her early writings and musings about her spiritual life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nanci on November 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read Sue Monk Kidd's fiction, and I did like them. I had been familiar with her from her early days with Guideposts magazine. The writing in this book, however, leaves me breathless. It is full of beauty and wonder and gratitude. She weaves words into a beautiful bouquet.

It is no surprise she refers to Mary Oliver, a poet who has a love affair with life, and gratitude for each leaf and passing breeze.

This book will warm your heart from the inside out, make you more aware of the beauty around you, and help to awaken the Mystery all over again. As she says, it will renew your love affair with life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By FaithfulReader.com on June 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In a word, this book is inspirational. The tone is evident even in the book's packaging: its beach-sunrise jacket photo and its airy page design. If you need an emotional lift --- or know someone who does --- FIRSTLIGHT will provide it.

Over her writing career of nearly 30 years, Sue Monk Kidd has endeared herself to two audiences. First, to readers of Guideposts magazine and devotionals, for which she wrote very concrete, first-person, anecdotal narratives. A sample: "Late one winter night it snows in South Carolina. When the sun comes up, a dazzling white quilt lays across our small backyard.

" 'Oh-h-h, Mommy.' In the bedroom both children cling to the windowsill speechless. It is their first snow..."

In memoirs published from 1988 to 1997, her spiritual journey reflected a more contemplative outlook and eventually a feminist theology that endeared a different readership. Then her fiction (THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES and THE MERMAID CHAIR) turned her and her unorthodox characters into conversational centerpieces all around town, coast to coast.

Now here's the trick. Can this new collection of "early writings" bridge her two audiences? I say yes, assuming a reader is not scouring for theological tenets but for feel-good inspiration that encourages faith in a slightly vague Divine.

Many of the untitled selections within the book's 13 chapters are from Guideposts publications, anecdotes about childhood, motherhood, marriage and Sue's early nursing career. But it seems that most of the chapter topics (with titles such as "Awareness," "Solitude," "Simplicity of Spirit" and "Gracious Space") are grounded in essays that are more reflective than anecdotal.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Kelly on February 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sue Monk Kidd's work continues to delight. Her short, honest, writings show her to be attentive to the moment as well as to the world around her. This book would be a start to a group discussion for people seeking to live mindful, but interactive, lives. She enjoys the spiritual life of monks without having taken their vows. Readers will gain much from this collection of essays and observations.
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