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Review: Marriage and Other Acts of Charity

February 19, 2010
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Kate Braestrup is an ordained minister and serves as the chaplain for the Maine Warden Service , which means she ministers to game wardens and others at the site of any outdoor accident that the wardens are called to respond to.  Kate wasn’t always religious and in fact was quite vocally against organized religion at one time.  Her first marriage was pretty rocky and seemed to be headed for divorce, so she and her husband went for counseling and she came to realize that she really loved her husband but wasn’t doing a good job of showing it.  In fact, she was acting on her fear of losing him (he was a police officer) rather than letting her love show.

Marriages (hers and those that she has performed for others) made Kate think about love a lot and in Marriage and Other Acts of Charity, Kate Braestrup tells her story and reflects on love.  She says there are three kinds of love – eros, which is romantic and sexual love; philos, which is affection and friendship; and agape, which is love that “earnestly desires the wholeness and happiness of the one who is loved.”  In this touching memoir, Kate intersperses the story of her adulthood with reflections on marriage and other types of love.

When I started Marriage and Other Acts of Charity and discovered that Kate Braestrup is a minister, I wondered if it was going to be a book for me, since I don’t enjoy “preachy” books.  I’m happy to tell you that I didn’t find this book to be at all preachy.  Instead, it is a quiet, reflective story of someone who is trying to live the best life she can by showing love to others.  This book is thoughtful, introspective, funny, and inspiring and it made me cry a bucket of tears.  It felt like I was reading a book by an old friend.  It made me reflect on what I value in life and think about how I want to treat the people I love.  In case you can’t tell, I liked this book a lot!

Challenges: The Reagan Arthur Books Challenge (have you signed up yet?), Memorable Memoir Challenge

This book was given to me by the publisher at the SIBA Trade Show.   I am an Amazon Associate.
34 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2010 6:03 am

    This sounds so good, as do all the Reagan Arthur books. I have it on hold at the library and can’t wait to read it. I love reading books make you feel like you’re reading a book with an old friend. Great review Kathy!

  2. February 19, 2010 7:29 am

    Sounds like a nice reflective book. Glad to hear it wasn’t preachy. Thanks for the review. Is this your second book for the RA challenge?

  3. February 19, 2010 7:38 am

    When I started reading your review, I didn’t think the book was for me. But since you say it’s not preachy, made you cry, and the author felt like an old friend…well, that sold me!

  4. February 19, 2010 8:04 am

    At first I didn’t think this would be a book for me but after reading your whole review I think it might. It sounds quiet and soft and thought provoking. Thank you for a great review.

  5. February 19, 2010 8:05 am

    Yes, I signed up for the Memorable Memoir Challenge. I have to become more organized with my challenges.

    Guess what! I won the second Ra book from Karen. I’m so excited. I love winning. Listen, you’ll hear me saying RAH, RAH, RAH!

  6. February 19, 2010 8:30 am

    Great review! I won the audio from Bookin’ Bingo this morning. I know what you mean about “preachy.” The way you describe this book I am reminded of “The Gift of an Ordinary Day.” It wasn’t “preachy” just very good ways to live simply and appreciate life. I am anxious for my audio. Thanks for the review.

  7. February 19, 2010 8:58 am

    I also just read a book about the different kinds of love and trying to figure out how they fit in with marriage. Always thought-provoking!

  8. February 19, 2010 9:06 am

    I can’t wait to read this one after your review. I admit that it wasn’t one I was rushing to get to! Sounds like the perfect read for this time of year!

  9. February 19, 2010 9:16 am

    This would be great for my best friend. She likes these types of books and her husband is a chaplain.

  10. February 19, 2010 9:27 am

    This book looks really interesting. I’m glad you liked it! I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction this year, so I’ll put it on my list. Thanks!

  11. February 19, 2010 9:40 am

    I really enjoyed her first book which focuses more on her job as chaplain. I definitely want to read this one!

  12. February 19, 2010 10:40 am

    Glad to hear it is not preachy. I love the title. I wonder if hubby sees marriage as an act of charity.

  13. February 19, 2010 10:48 am

    It is always good to re-focus on your marriage now and again. It is so easy to coast on auto pilot. My husband and I read a book awhile ago called the Love Languages, which basically helps you figure out what “language” appeals to you and your spouse. For some people, love is best expressed through buying presents, others by touching, others by doing their laundry. It was very insightful and helpful!

  14. February 19, 2010 10:52 am

    I read her earlier book (think it was called: Here I You Need Me) and thought it was pretty good. I hadn’t heard of this one, until now; thanks kathy

  15. February 19, 2010 11:51 am

    The last few lines of your review really speak of how much u loved the book.

    I am sure I will try this out if i get it here!

  16. February 19, 2010 12:03 pm

    It’s nice to find a good reflective book – I’m not a big fan of preachy books either. 🙂

  17. February 19, 2010 1:04 pm

    Sounds like a good read. Good that it is not preachy, I was wondering the same too!

  18. February 19, 2010 1:08 pm

    Wonderful review, Kathy. I don’t enjoy books that are too “preachy” either. As you probably remember I’ve joined the RA challenge, so it’s good to know about this book (I may need to use the mini button at the end of your post when review a RA book). 🙂

  19. February 19, 2010 2:06 pm

    The title made me laugh – I am glad that you didn’t find this novel preachy…it sounds interesting. Great review!

  20. stacybuckeye permalink
    February 19, 2010 2:17 pm

    A bucket od tears? I didn’t see that coming. Looks interesting.

  21. February 19, 2010 3:57 pm

    I didn’t realize the author was a minister (and from Maine) that bio sounds familiar … I wonder why. I’ll be reading this for the Reagan Arthur challenge as well (and, hey, it counts for Memorable Memoir, too!)

  22. February 19, 2010 4:09 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful book, even if it’s not for me.

  23. February 19, 2010 6:23 pm

    If you cried a bucket of tears, I know I’ll like it. If this is an example of the Reagan Arthur book line, I need to check that out.

  24. February 19, 2010 6:36 pm

    I read her first book, Here If You Need Me, and absolutely loved it. She’s not preachy at all, but real and approachable. I didn’t realize that she released a new one…must go request it from my library now!!!

  25. February 19, 2010 6:53 pm

    Oh, thanks for the review! Glad to hear it isn’t too preachy – I’ve had this on my shelf for a while now and have been putting off reading it for just the same fears.

  26. February 19, 2010 9:12 pm

    My aunt has highly recommended her first book to me – now I feel like I definitely need to check this author out.

  27. bethfishreads permalink
    February 20, 2010 7:38 am

    Wow!!! I was going to read this anyway for your RAB challenge, but now I’m really interested. I was hesitant because I thought it’d be preachy — I’m so glad you addressed that point. Now I’ll read it with no reservations.

  28. February 20, 2010 11:05 am

    This sounds like an insightful book and I was glad that you mentioned that it wasn’t preachy. I like books that feel like you connect with the author. I’m going to add this one to my wishlist.

  29. February 20, 2010 10:59 pm

    Good review! This sounds like one I might enjoy!

  30. iwriteinbooks permalink
    February 21, 2010 11:40 am

    Sounds like a cute read! I like that she was able to talk about her life as a minister without coming off as preachy. Thanks for the review!

  31. February 21, 2010 6:00 pm

    this sounds like a nice book, and I like the cover!

  32. February 22, 2010 4:09 pm

    Good to hear that this book was not too preachy for you. I have actually heard the tern “agape” before. My pastor used it in one of his sermons about the kind of love God has for his children. I think I would like to read this book, it sounds good!

  33. February 24, 2010 4:32 pm

    I had the same reservations about this book (as you know, since you read my review this morning!) I didn’t find it preachy and thought it was really good. Nice review!

  34. March 22, 2010 2:56 pm

    Sounds like a good read to me.

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