The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

QOTD: What book is next on your TBR?
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The Book of Longings
Sue Monk Kidd
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This was a story set in the time of Jesus as we follow Ana, his fictional wife. As she grapples with the freedom she desires growing up as a rich girl that was encouraged to read and to write by her father and the expectations of women at her time. When she was marriagable age which is when you get your cycle then her parents start trying to marry her off to an older man with daughters her own age.

There were so many different women in this story and this felt like the story was about the women. About the struggles and restrictions and despair. But also the hope and love and life. The girls sold into marriage, the raped punished for speaking, the banished abused wives, the list goes on -these were all the right of the husband, father and brother and still are in some places. And the slander was encouraged by the mobs. I’ve read the Bible stories you can talk to a man and you are a fornicater; even if he raped you, it’s your fault. They are still saying that now, it’s f-ing terrorizing.

To be honest, if Jesus did have a wife he would have been the loving husband described in this story but his calling took him on the road from her as was expected. I believe that it isn’t unreasonable that Jesus would have been married as he was a Jewish man in that time, it would have been expected. I would have loved that he had a family but for him to be more divine he couldn’t be seen as human like others, he has to be above so I’m not sure if we know all the details, women were superfluous details to men’s stories.

Ana might be seen as naive or foolish with all the impulsive actions and the trouble she gets into. Let me remind you this was her life from the ages of 14-21. Omg I was an absolute moron at that age, maybe you made better choices. I just saw some reviews saying she wasn’t very mature but she was so young but it was a different time. 

I enjoyed the history and scriptures that followed the same path weaving in a fictional story to give them more humanity. 

Thank you @netgalley and @vikingbooks for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review. 

#netgalley #thebookoflongings #biblical

Synopsis:

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.”

Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’s public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.

Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

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