Tag Archives: book review

Book Review from Kirkus Reviews

A fictional imagining of the childhood of Jesus’ mother, Mary.

Due to scant historical evidence, very little is known about Mary’s early life before her marriage to Joseph and the birth of Jesus. Nickum (The Path, 2014, etc.) attempts to creatively fill in these blanks, envisioning what Mary’s early upbringing might have been like. Here, Mary is raised as an only child because her older sister, Salome, was kidnapped by Samaritan rebels, never to be seen again. Later, Mary is also abducted by a mysterious woman and held in captivity for weeks before her eventual rescue. At an early age, she demonstrates a natural curiosity and defiance, refusing to leave home to become a Temple Virgin. She candidly challenges traditions and customs that often seem designed to restrict women’s freedom. Mary’s parents decide she’s ready for marriage at the age of 12, and despite her attraction for a boy relatively close to her age, they choose Joseph, a much older man. Mary is horrified and vehemently expresses her consternation, almost ruining the arrangement, which turns out to be financially beneficial to her family. Mary becomes pregnant only two months after her wedding—so soon that Joseph suspects that he might not be the father. When a Roman visits Mary’s house on business and issues a prediction, it later looks like prophecy: “You will have a son who will change the world.” The book’s story begins prior to Mary’s birth and astutely depicts the political context into which she was born. Galilee was under the brutal rule of Herod, who was only notionally a Jew and expressed his pro-Roman leanings in his fawning adoration of Caesar. Mary’s father, Joachim, was part of a perilous rebellion meant to replace Herod with a less tyrannical, more genuinely Jewish leader. Much of the value of the author’s dramatization is precisely in vividly bringing to life this political and cultural context. Nickum’s interpretation certainly departs from the biblical account—specifically, the story as it’s told in the Gospel of Luke—and Mary conceives Jesus naturally, not immaculately. This particular revision has significant theological implications and seems like an omission that’s never directly addressed. However, the story is still engaging as historical hypothesis and successfully adds layers of depth and complexity to a figure whose formative years remain obscure.

A provocative, intelligently constructed historical exercise.

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New Website

Please visit my new website for A GIRL NAMED MARY:  http://www.agirlnamedmary.net

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A Girl Named Mary…A Review

A Review on Amazon…

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Mary’s tale will attract and hold the attention of young readers – and even this adult (and demanding) one. The story begins on the eve of Jesus’ birth, then backtracks to that of Herod’s excesses, and the struggles of Mary’s parents, Anne and Joachim. We are there for Mary’s birth, girlhood, and adolescence, and witness her development into a virtuous yet occasionally rebellious and questioning adolescent, which gives her character depth and believability. She initially rails against her arranged marriage to the much-older Joseph, but at length accepts it with good grace. No angel of Annunciation serves as the harbinger of the special nature of the child Mary is to bear, and in fact her wedding day and the period that follows is very much presented as a typical Jewish marriage of the time. (It is a visiting blue-eyed Roman legionnaire who presents the only inkling to young Mary that she may be destined for greatness, an interesting and even arresting touch in the narrative.) Period details and Hebrew terms and customs are deftly integrated into the narrative, and Mary herself is presented as an intelligent, spirited, kind, and most of all, thoughtful actor in the immense drama she is central to. It takes ability and imagination to breathe life into a story as well-known as this one, and the author rewards every moment spent by the reader, providing a fresh, vital, and oftentimes surprising retelling of one of history’s most revered personalities.

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Book Talk vs. Book Review

A book talk in the broadest terms is what is spoken with the intent to convince someone to read a book. Book talks are traditionally conducted in a classroom setting for students; however, book talks can be performed outside a school setting and with a variety of age groups as well. It is not a book review, a book report, or a book analysis.

The book talker gives the audience a glimpse of the setting, the characters, and/or the major conflict without providing the resolution or denouement. Book talks make listeners care enough about the content of the book to want to read it. A long book talk is usually about five to seven minutes long and a short book talk is generally less than a minute long.

On the other hand, a book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit. A book review can be a primary source opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review. Books can be reviewed for printed periodicals, magazines and newspapers, as schoolwork, or for book web sites on the Internet. A book review’s length may vary from a single paragraph to a substantial essays. Such a review may evaluate the book on the basis of personal taste. Reviewers may use the occasion of a book review for a display of learning or to promulgate their own ideas on the topic of a fiction or non-fiction work.

There are two approaches to book reviewing:
• Descriptive reviews give the essential information about a book. This is done with description and exposition, by stating the perceived aims and purposes of the author, and by quoting striking passages from the text.
• Critical reviews describe and evaluate the book, in terms of accepted literary and historical standards, and supports this evaluation with evidence from the text. The following pointers are meant to be suggestions for writing a critical review.

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New Submissions requested

New Submissions for The Path Requested, www.thepathmagazine.com

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The Path volume 4 number 2

New issue of The Path is now available in time for Christmas giving!BookCoverImage

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The Monsterjunkies, an American Family Odyssey

<a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17123659-the-monsterjunkies-an-american-family-odyssey&#8221; style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”The Monsterjunkies, an American Family Odyssey.” border=”0″ src=”http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1356121582m/17123659.jpg&#8221; /></a><a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17123659-the-monsterjunkies-an-american-family-odyssey”>The Monsterjunkies, an American Family Odyssey.</a> by <a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4278384.Erik_Daniel_Shein”>Erik Daniel Shein</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/493942243″>5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
You’ll recognize at least one character from The Monsterjunkies; an American Family Odyssey, whether it’s the main character, much maligned Cromwell, his sister  the well-arranged Indigo or the bully-master himself, Rutherford J. Grimes III. Cromwell or Crow, as he prefers to be called, finds a way to deal with the bullying. He meets it head-on in a unique combination of smarts and one-upmanship. Indigo, too, must find a way to have friends over without sacrificing her family’s desire and need for privacy. Why the overly espoused need for privacy? Find out what the Monsterjunkie estate is harboring. It is the very estate itself and it’s unusual set of inhabitants that provides the ticket for Crow’s acceptance. The author, Erik Shein, noted author and animator, provides teens a look inside a family who struggles with inheritance, science and a community’s fear of the unknown. Highly recommended for school and public library collections.<br /><br />
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<a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/2632544-mary-nickum”>View all my reviews</a>

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