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Somewhere More Holy: Stories from a Bewildered Father, Stumbling Husband, Reluctant Handyman, and Prodigal Son Paperback – May 29, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Somewhere More Holy is sweet company for anyone enduring broken things and broken selves." --Sara Groves, singer/songwriter

"Somewhere More Holy is one of the rich, rare and rawly authentic books that will have you sharing both the laughter and the tears of the writer." --Betsy Hart, columnist/author

"This is not an easy book, because it shows a real man and real failures . . ." --Marvin Olasky

"Woodlief writes with enthusiasm, earnestness, and a sense of personal confession." --Image Journal

Review

“Somewhere More Holy is one of the rich, rare, and rawly authentic books that will have you sharing both the laughter and the tears of the writer. And those emotions will bring about an experience at once very human, yet also very soul satisfying. Tony Woodlief writes with passion, humor, and humility about making our homes more holy, but precisely in the midst of what can only be described as beautiful brokenness! I couldn't put his book down.” -- Betsy Hart, , Author|“Somewhere More Holy is sweet company for anyone enduring broken things and broken selves. We can’t contemplate the world on our own, and so it is a beautiful thing to find another observer with such a gift to communicate what he sees. Tony Woodlief is a very gifted writer, but his openness is his greatest gift to us.” -- Sara Groves, , Singer/Songwriter|“This is not an easy book, because it shows a real man with real failures---but Tony Woodlief delights in his children, and God uses them as a means of grace to teach Tony about his need for Christ. The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy that women shall be saved by childbearing. Men who fear fatherhood should realize that they need children even more.” -- Dr. Marvin Olasky, , Provost

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (May 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310319935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310319931
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,535,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Charles Mitchell on June 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Tony's stuff on his blog/in the WSJ/etc., so I knew I would like this book. I didn't know that I would love it -- that I would find it profoundly affecting, that my wife would attract the attention of men other than me on the Acela due to how frequently she laughed while reading it, or that I would quickly find myself back on Amazon buying more copies for friends.

Let me put it this way: There are a lot of "how to" books out there on marriage, kids, handyman-hood, etc. I know this because I read them; I read them because I know I need the help. But none of these treatises -- even those with the most rigorous doctrine, simple ten-step programs, and clear writing -- have anything near the power of Tony's book.

This book will grip you (it's got some stories he is brave to tell, as others have said), this book will amaze you (mainly as you realize how well Tony has married), and this book will inspire you to chase after the things that have, through so much suffering, become precious to Tony (marriage, family, home). And it will help you understand -- in a way no amount of theological navel gazing could -- what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote that "suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Rom. 5:3-5).

Oh, and did I mention that the dude can flat-out write?
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By N. B. Kennedy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Tony Woodlief writes lyrically, yet realistically, about family life. He and his wife both came from flawed and broken families, and so have made it their life's work to create a home environment in which everyone feels loved and safe, both physically and mentally.

This is the kind of book that will deeply delight many readers, especially those in loving, close-knit families. If you enjoyed Katrina Kennison's The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir you might find this book similarly satisfying, especially if you share Mr. Woodlief's biblical outlook.

Yet I found myself oddly detached. Once Mr. Woodlief writes in the introduction about his daughter's tragic death, his depression, his infidelities and the near implosion of his marriage, I just couldn't settle into the day-to-day observations of small family moments.

I would have preferred the author go into more depth about the tragedies and hard times he and his wife have endured. How does he maneuver the faith crisis implied in the verse he quotes so often: "I do believe. Help me in my unbelief." Although Mr. Woodlief writes evocatively about how deeply wounded he and his wife were, I didn't get any sense of how they worked through their grief, anger and loss of faith. I know he has much to tell us, and I hope one day he does.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin G. Pratt on May 22, 2010
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Do not read this book in public. You will cry, laugh, moan, roll your eyes, and generally be regarded as unbalanced. It's that sad, that funny, that good.

The writing style is reminiscent of Hemingway, while the overall feel is one part Faulkner, two parts Twain. In short - very American: tight and unsentimental. Like the caress of a hand on your cheek, a feather on your bare foot, or a punch in the nose, it is visceral. Like the Kansas landscape, it's at once beautiful and heartbreaking. This is true even in his choice of quotes from the Bible. ("Be still and know that I am God.")

The tale is in many ways a modern, personal rendition of the Book of Job, and like that Book it is sometimes painful to read and difficult to sum up. The result is the same: there is simply no way of understanding the meaning of suffering. To try only seems to end in a mischaracterization of God, or the sufferer. It is in the realm of poetry, and at its best the prose in this book is like a poem. The emotion and shared experience is conferred as much between the lines, from what is not said. It requires you to pour your experience into it, to become one with it.

Kurt Vonnegut said that writing and reading are subversive acts - they subvert the notion that things have to be the way they are, that we are alone, that no one has ever felt the way we have. I wonder if the author knows just how subversive he is. He was able to lead me back into a conversation with God, and so bring me closer to Him. No small feat, if you know me.

Peace.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Coleman on June 3, 2010
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This is a raw, captivating, and well-crafted book. In Somewhere More Holy, Tony Woodlief walks us through the rooms of his home, using those rooms to explore his own emotions, spirituality, and thoughts on family. By baring his own flaws, doubts, hopes, loves, and struggles, Mr. Woodlief creates a piece of literary nonfiction that is, by turns, both heartbreaking and uplifting. He reminds us of those people and moments that transform houses into homes. And trusting us with the most intimate details of his family's life, he reminds us that, in both good and bad moments, we're never as alone as we imagine. Somewhere More Holy is well worth the read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth J. Brendle on May 23, 2010
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Tony Woodleif bares his soul here, and sometimes that's not pretty. We all benefit from his transparency, though, and our hearts break and are healed again as we read his stories, descriptions and confessions in this poignant and hilarious memoir. A parent of boys myself, I laughed aloud at the all-too-familiar antics of his four sons. Woodleif seems to have that knack for verbalizing what so many of us feel as we negotiate the most difficult and rewarding vocation of all: raising tiny humans into fully mature souls who can love and be loved with open hearts. I ended up liking Woodleif's wife much more than I liked him, and I have a feeling he would take that as a compliment.
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