4 Stars Out Of 5
September 24, 2015
I'm not sure I've ever read a true memoir before, and when I picked up "Making It Home" by Emily T. Wierenga, I wasn't really aware that it was a memoir. I don't feel like the description on the back made it quite clear, but I dove into it and was immediately struck by the beauty of Wierenga's writing. I could tell pretty quick that it was going to be good.
Wierenga shares bits and pieces of her life story through this book, including her struggles in her relationship with her dad, an eating disorder, and the stories of two babies that she lost. I am always amazed when someone can take all these pieces of their life and weave them together, thread by thread, into this cohesive book, and that's exactly what Wierenga does. I didn't really know anything about her before reading this book, but she makes her story interesting and compelling and relevant.
Her writing - it is just beautiful (it reminds me a bit of Ann Voskamp's writing, except Wierenga is a bit more literal, which is the perfect balance to me). She has a poetic bent to her writing that makes ordinary descriptions sparkle, and it really was joy to read for that.
Doctrinally, the book generally seemed solid, which was a relief to me, because sometimes I think when writers get overly poetic they can tend to make the gospel confusing. I didn't feel like that was a problem with this book.
The one part that I didn't like was a point in the book (Chapter 18) when Wierenga makes a comparison between the Trinity and the family unit - comparing God to a father, Jesus to a "brother", and the Holy Spirit to a mother. This didn't bother me by itself, because there are often analogies like that in Scripture and theological studies. In the Bible, God is referred to as a Father, and Jesus does call us His "brethren" in Hebrews. The part I wasn't sure about, and would like to look into further, was comparing the Holy Spirit to the mother in the family unit, in that the Holy Spirit "nurtures and guides". To my recollection, that comparison is never directly made in Scripture.
What really made it uncomfortable for me was when Wierenga followed that comparison up with a poetic description of a vision/dream she had in which she interacts with the members of the Trinity. Wierenga refers to the Holy Spirit as a "she" in the word picture she draws. I didn't like that. All three members of the Trinity are referred to in a masculine sense in the Bible. I feel like Wierenga was trying to be poetic with her word picture and tie in the Trinity/family unit comparison, but I think it is unwise to change the pronoun when a feminine pronoun is never used to describe God in Scripture. God does not have a gender, but when He uses words in the masculine sense to describe Himself in His word, that is for a reason, and I don't think we should discard it for analogy or poetry's sake.
This is a sidetone, but I also get a bit uncomfortable in general with writers trying to describe God the Father and the Holy Spirit in human terms anyway. Of course one member of the Trinity, Jesus, did become a man, but to try to paint all three members of the Trinity into a mortal, more manageable picture doesn't sit well with me. It can be done well, but it is so often done poorly, and it is a fine, nondescript line to walk, in my opinion. I prefer more literal descriptions of the Trinity that are solidly backed up by Scripture - I'm not very poetic when it comes to that, because something as unfathomable as God in Three Persons cannot be adequately described through some poetic word picture.
While sharing some of her moments of struggle in her faith, Wierenga does share the gospel through these pages - in bits and pieces, not all in one chunk, but I appreciated that she did. Ultimately she brings the book back around to a message of hope and trust in God and His plan for our lives.
In terms of stars, the writing definitley deserves five, overall I would give the book four stars, with one more taken away for that one improper gender description. Except for the above chapter that I took issue with, I did very much enjoy this book.
Note: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.