The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
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“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.
What I thought
I really wanted to read this book but I was not sure how I was going to feel about it. I spent my teenage years being very religious. More in the since of study and research. I read many stories and different takes on the stories in the Bible. So I was not sure if I was going to be able to read this story without comparing it to everything I already knew. In the end I really enjoyed this story.
First and foremost this is the story of Ana the wife of Jesus. Jesus having a wife is not a new concept I have heard many believe that Mary Magdalene was his wife, because she is mentioned in the Bible. I know that this is a very hot topic with some people. The concept of him having a wife is based on society of that time. So yes it is very possible that he did.
Now for hard part… telling you how I feel without spoiling you for this story.
The first 3/4 of this book kept my interest and I really enjoyed it but that last 1/4 of the book blew me away. The writing in this book is beautiful and Ana is a passionate and loving person. If Jesus did have a wife I hope she was like Ana. All of the characters in this story felt human, yes, even Jesus. This is the most real I think I have ever read him to be and I enjoyed her take on him so much..This book made me feel so many things and I almost cried. I don’t cry while reading books, but this one almost got me.
One more thing if you pick up this book make sure to also read the Authors Note at the end. At least for my research loving heart I fount that to be interesting too.
My Rating: /5