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Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved Hardcover – February 6, 2018
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“A meditation on sense-making when there’s no sense to be made, on letting go when we can’t hold on, and on being unafraid even when we’re terrified. And it happens to be hilarious. Above all, though, this is a love letter to life, and it’s gorgeous.”—Lucy Kalanithi, MD, FACP, clinical assistant professor of medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine
“[A] wonderful new memoir . . . Everything Happens belongs on the shelf alongside other terrific books about this difficult subject, like Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air and Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. . . . It’s inspiring to see this thoughtful woman face such weighty topics with honesty and humor.”—Bill Gates
“I fell hard and fast for Kate Bowler. Her writing is naked, elegant, and gripping—she’s like a Christian Joan Didion. I left Kate’s story feeling more present, more grateful, and a hell of a lot less alone. And what else is art for? Everything Happens for a Reason is art in its highest form, and Kate Bowler is a true artist—with the pen, and with her life.”—Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Warrior and president of Together Rising
“[Bowler’s] dry humor and raw, personal accounts help make thinking about our common fate bearable.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Bowler’s lovely prose and sharp wit capture her struggle to find continued joy after her [stage IV cancer] diagnosis. This poignant look at the unpredictable promises of faith will amaze readers.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A page-turner of lasting force . . . Bowler wields a sharp pen, one that flows seamlessly through comic terrain, pausing for laugh-out-loud one-liners . . . as it probes death and dying young with aching poignancy.”—Chicago Tribune
“This is a beautifully written, intelligent, soulful book, necessary reading for all of us who long to walk faithfully and honestly through the darkest and most desolate of seasons.”—Shauna Niequist, New York Times bestselling author of Present Over Perfect
“The Kate Bowler you will come to know in this book is 100 percent real: honest, brave, holy, ridiculous, profane, hilarious, human—her fierce and beautiful words will make you ugly-cry and laugh out loud inappropriately in public places, and they will make you long for the courage to tell the truth about your life.”—Amy K. Butler, senior minister, The Riverside Church
“[Bowler] delivers raw emotion, realistic description, and candid assessments . . . An inspiring story of finding faith—in God, in family, and in oneself—while walking close to the Valley of the Shadow of Death.”—Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Kate Bowler is an assistant professor at Duke Divinity School. A graduate of Yale Divinity School and Duke University, Bowler is the author of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son.
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Then the results from the CT Scan came back and Ms. Bowler discovered she had stage four colon cancer and not much time left to live.
This book isn't so much a calm meditation on grief as it is a reflection of the way we swing wildly back and forth from rage to calm to fear to grief and back again. She is living in the ever-present of stage four cancer - now must be enough because no tomorrow can be promised to her. While currently somewhat stabilized, she has written a book that is an absolute gift to us all. It is not a pat or trite reflection on sorrows that promises a better tomorrow - it's someone willing to sit with you in the dark, because she is there too.
That Kate wrote this book is a gift not just to her family, giving them an inner vision of a very self-possessed woman's thoughts as she stares into, as she calls it, "an unbearable future" - it's a gift to all of us who have lived through grief. Whether the diagnosis was our own or for a family member - whether we mourned a loss that's already occurred or we're facing one we cannot bear to survive - this book will not tell you "everything will be okay". Instead, it will tell you, "you know, it might NOT be okay, but we'll keep living anyway and I will stand there with you."
It's beautiful, raw, wrenching, hard not to read in a single sitting. A meditation on the way we are ALL adherents of the Prosperity Gospel when the chips are down.. we all want to bargain or find some thing we can do to "deserve" and receive healing. Sometimes, healing is not in the cards. Kate is there to walk with us through making sense of the world when everything is utterly senseless - on parenting when you're not sure how much longer you'll get to BE a parent - on loving someone who is going to lose you so much that you find yourself telling everyone to be sure he remarries, if it will make him happy.
I read it in one sitting. I will be buying another copy to gift to my mother, but I can't give her mine - it's tear-stained all to hell and I will read it again.
When my father died, I sought out books on mourning, grief, and death. I wish this book had existed then - it reflects how I felt so much better than anything else ever did.
However, I'm not. I'm lightly christian nearly agnostic. I have cancer and thought this would be a great read for me to process my future with death and dying. However, I found it very hard to relate to the author. I admire her faith and that it gives her great strength and comfort, but it's not really my cup of tea. When you remove the religion aspect, the book doesn't quite stand on it's own. Perhaps that is because it she is so bound to her faith, which is good for her, but hard to related to.
If you have a terminal illness and are not Christian, this book is not for you. If you are Christian and have or don't have a terminal illness, you'd really like this book.