I made a pact with myself this summer – I’d start reading books again. While that might not seem like a big deal to many of you, I have been so busy with learning a new job, organizing our life because of my new job and making sure our kids are doing okay with my new job that I’ve tucked one of my favorite pastimes in a corner.
To quote Dirty Dancing, “Nobody puts baby in a corner.” (Yes, I’m that old and yes, I will proudly continue to quote that genius movie all day long!)
I went to the library and hit up the new books shelves. Out of the 15 books I checked out, I struck gold with one. The new shelf at the library is like Netflix to me. How in the world are there so many books but it’s so hard to find just one good one?
BUT I’m here to tell you about a new favorite – The Brightest Sun by Adrienne Benson. Honestly it was not until I finished the book that I read Adrienne’s book dedication. “And TCKs everywhere, who grow wild in the spaces between. This is for you.”
Let me be clear from the beginning. This is not a religious book. If you are offended by language, questionable moral behavior and the raw portrayal of humanity, this is probably not your jam.
Three women, lives intertwined by a myriad of circumstances live out what it means to be a woman in Kenya and Liberia. I know I was especially drawn to this book because of those two countries – places I have called my home. Adrienne does an incredible job showing the reader what it’s like to live as a woman in these countries. You can smell the air, see the life, feel the pain and live alongside Leona, Simi and Jane.
I’m not going to launch into a copious description of the plot. If you want to know that, read the book. What I will say is that the older I get, the more I learn about how people are the same all over the world.
As Mim Fox says in her fantastic book, Whoever You Are –
“Joys are the same and love is the same, Pain is the same and blood is the same, Smiles are the same and hearts are just the same, wherever they are, wherever you are, wherever we are all over the world.”
This book highlights the pain of an unplanned pregnancy, the angst of infertility, the cultural practices steeped in maternal hierarchy, and the deep religious beliefs held by so many. There are moments of deep pain and great joy. There is a raw beauty of seeing women come together from completely separate lives.