Monday, March 30, 2015

Lenten Reading: The Unveiled Wife by Jennifer Smith

From Goodreads:
As a young bride, Jennifer Smith couldn't wait to build her life with the man she adored. She dreamed of closeness, of being fully known and loved by her husband. But the first years of marriage were nothing like she’d imagined. Instead, they were marked by disappointment and pain. Trapped by fear and insecurity, and feeling totally alone, Jennifer cried out to God: What am I doing wrong? Why is this happening to us? It was as if a veil had descended between her and her husband, and between her and God—one that kept her from experiencing the fullness of love. How did Jennifer and her husband survive the painful times? What did they do when they were tempted to call it quits? How did God miraculously step in during the darkest hour to rescue and redeem them, tearing down the veil once and for all? The Unveiled Wife is a real-life love story; one couple’s refreshingly raw, transparent journey touching the deep places in a marriage that only God can reach. If you are feeling disappointment or even despair about your marriage, the heart-cry of this book is: You are not alone. Discover through Jennifer’s story how God can bring you through it all to a place of transformation.
I have to be honest, after having just read This Is My Body, I found the writing here to be a bit less than I had hoped for.   I hate to say it, but in terms of quality of writing it's more in line with the simplistic and less literary forms of Christian memoir than it is with the literary style of memoirists like Ragan Sutterfield and Anne Lamott.  That doesn't mean it's a bad book or that it has no value - it may appeal to a wider range of readers because of its style - but it didn't appeal as much to me personally.  I felt like it was probably written for those who don't usually read outside of the "inspirational" category of non-fiction.  It has more of a glossy magazine depth than what I'd consider to be truly amazing writing.

Entertainment Value
Despite my disappointment with the writing, I did enjoy reading Smith's story.  Almost immediately after my wedding (on my honeymoon, in fact) I developed some serious health issues that plagued the first few years of my marriage.  I could so identify with her story of struggling in her new position as a wife and feelings of inadequacy.  Because it does read fairly easily and it's not terribly lengthy I was able to finish it in just a few sittings, and I found the story compelling enough that I didn't want to stop reading.

I recommend it to those who may have similar experience to Smith or who are struggling in the early years of a marriage.  I don't think it's going to appeal to many readers outside of young women in the early years of marriage and in the evangelical Christian religion.  It's really written for a fairly specific audience and I think that that audience is certainly out there (I'm proof of it) and will enjoy this book, but it does have a narrow reach.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review!

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