Everything Happens for A Reason

Everything Happens for A Reason

And Other Lies I've Loved

Book - 2018
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"A divinity professor and young mother with a Stage IV cancer diagnosis explores the pain and joy of living without certainty. Thirty-five-year-old Kate Bowler was a professor at the school of divinity at Duke, and had finally had a baby with her childhood sweetheart after years of trying, when she began to feel jabbing pains in her stomach. She lost thirty pounds, chugged antacid, and visited doctors for three months before she was finally diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. As she navigates the aftermath of her diagnosis, Kate pulls the reader deeply into her life, which is populated with a colorful, often hilarious collection of friends, pastors, parents, and doctors, and shares her laser-sharp reflections on faith, friendship, love, and death. She wonders why suffering makes her feel like a loser and explores the burden of positivity. Trying to relish the time she still has with her son and husband, she realizes she must change her habit of skipping to the end and planning the next move. A historian of the "American prosperity gospel"--The creed of the mega-churches that promises believers a cure for tragedy, if they just want it badly enough--Bowler finds that, in the wake of her diagnosis, she craves these same "outrageous certainties." She wants to know why it's so hard to surrender control over that which you have no control. She contends with the terrifying fact that, even for her husband and child, she is not the lynchpin of existence, and that even without her, life will go on. On the page, Kate Bowler is warm, witty, and ruthless, and, like Paul Kalanithi, one of the talented, courageous few who can articulate the grief she feels as she contemplates her own mortality"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780399592065
0399592067
Characteristics: xviii, 178 pages ; 20 cm

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writermala
Jun 22, 2019

I have always subscribed to the theory that "everything happens for a reason," so I was attracted to this book. However, i felt that Kate Bowler did not do justice to the topic. I must confess that given she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at the age of 35 she has done very good justice to her description of her life and what she expects from her friends. I was particularly impressed by the appendices where she gives lists of what to say and what not to when you are faced with someone dealing with cancer or any terminal illness.

l
lovebugs95
Feb 15, 2019

This book affected me in ways I never thought possible. It is a powerful book about anger, love, perseverance and just feeling like giving up. Yet, the author inspires you along her journey to try and live your best life even in the most dire circumstances.

s
swheeler89
Feb 06, 2019

Couldn't put it down. At times reminded me of "When Breath Becomes Air", but I enjoyed this more, with Kate's honesty and life story woven in. Would highly recommend to anyone with friends or family going through illness. Dont expect finality or closure at the end, but soak in the experiences Kate has to share.

g
GRIFFINL
Jan 28, 2019

This one was hard to score. It is beautifully written and had me laughing and crying through most of the book. I started with a 3, but then moved to a 4 because, even though this is not my "cup of tea," I was compelled by the story, had to finish it and had to look up the author afterwards. It's a sad book with a lot to keep you up at night, so be prepared for the ride.

b
Bududo
Oct 27, 2018

The author breezily relates the story of her diagnosis and eventual survival of intestinal cancer. Interspersed are insights about life as a young wife and mother. The author is an historian of the Christian progressive gospel theology in which she familiarly moves within its community and receives advice, commentary, and criticisms all of which she in turn critiques. The best & most helpful part of the book is a section at the very back where she provides some suggestions of what to say and what not to say to people who have a serious illness.

d
dirtbag
Jun 05, 2018

This is outstanding in its truthfulness and accuracy but it is not a depressing read. It reminded me often of experiences that I had had and of people whom I met and the phoney optimism that seems to come with someone's cancer diagnosis..... all of those pink pom pom wavers. This lady has something to say and everyone should hear it. I found this book to be profound.

c
closedbook
May 23, 2018

summer reading list.

r
rstodd
Apr 06, 2018

Well worth reading for anyone who has a friend or loved one who is living with cancer. I would add one other bit of advice that she overlooked. When people offer to help give them the opportunity to do so.
For those of us with cancer it is nice to see a book from a person who is living with it. “ The last Lecture,” and,” When Breath Becomes Air,” are both excellent books but Kate Bowler offers additional hope that one can live with cancer. Not just survive.
Richard Todd

laurendouglass Apr 03, 2018

This book had several stand out sentences that are still stuck in my head. Including --

When the author's friend, a pediatric oncologist, is described as:
"He knows what it is like to explode the world."

When the author is writing about her fixation on the future, even though she doesn't know how much future she has left:
"It was the sin of arrogance, of becoming impervious to life itself. I failed to love what was present and decided to love what was possible instead. I must learn to live in ordinary time, but I don't know how."

If you loved "When Breath Becomes Air", "The Bright Hour", "The Last Lecture", this book will speak to you.

CarleeMcDot Mar 16, 2018

I don't remember how I came across this book or why it ended up on my "For Later" list at the library, but I needed a quick read before we left for our 3 week road trip and this one was available. I didn't know anything about it when I grabbed it but the title intrigued me. The book follows the author along her journey of being diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and her "acceptance" along the way. (I put acceptance in quotes because throughout the story there are definitely ups and downs, days that she feels rage or fear, calm or grief. I wouldn't say that in the end you feel a complete sense of acceptance, but one of realization that she must live in the now because tomorrow is never promised.) I know this may sound cold, but I didn't love the book. I felt like the best parts were actually the appendix (a list of things to NEVER say to someone experiencing a hard time and a list of potential things you could say). I totally understand that this is about her personal journey and maybe I am expecting too much, but I was left wanting more - wanting more of a conclusion, wanting more of her relationship with God (she talks about how she is in expert in the field of the prosperity gospel, but never really touches on HER beliefs), wanting more something. This was a quick read so I didn't feel like I had too much invested in it, but when I finished I was still a bit disappointed. I would give it a 6 out of 10.

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