Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved

Kate Bowler. Random House, $26 (208p) ISBN 978-0-399-59206-5
With grace, wisdom, and humor, Bowler (Blessed), a divinity professor at Duke University, tells of her cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment in a way that pierces platitudes to showcase her resilience in the face of impending death. At 35 years old, after months of enduring stomach pains and visiting specialists who had conflicting suggestions, Bowler was rushed into emergency surgery for stage IV colon cancer. Surrounded by her husband, very young son, and a host of supportive friends, she faces down the likelihood that she will not live a year. As she responds well to treatment, she enters a period of uncertainty, hoping to survive and maximize her time with her family. Throughout her account of weekly flights to Atlanta from North Carolina for experimental therapy and realizations that each holiday might be her last, she relates her suddenly terrifying life to her academic work on the prosperity gospel—a peculiarly American belief in deserved success and control that is at odds with her current life. Bowler’s lovely prose and sharp wit capture her struggle to find continued joy after her diagnosis. This poignant look at the unpredictable promises of faith will amaze readers. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/11/2017
Release date: 02/06/2018
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