Book Review: All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

From the Back Cover:

After Annie Jacobson’s brother Mike enlists as a medic in the Army in 1967, he mails her the address of their long-estranged father. If anything should happen to him in Vietnam, Mike says, Annie must let their father know. 

In Mike’s absense, their father returns to face tragedy at home, adding an extra measure of complication to an already tense time. Letter by letter, the Jacobsons must find a way to pull together as a family, regardless of past hurts. In the tumult of this time, Annie and her family will grapple with the tension of holding both hope and grief in the same hand, even as they learn to turn to the One who binds the wounds of the brokenhearted. 

My Thoughts:

Being born in 1977, I have no personal history of this era in our country. My father was an MP in the Army but not sent over. He refused to talk about his time in the military – which as a story-oriented person felt isolating. All the more reason I love the Jacobsons. Susie captures the beauty in the middle of a tumultuous time in our nation’s history and I’m thankful.

This family is fractured and in many ways dysfunctional, but they do their best and hold each other up while dealing with their own stuff. I love the spunk of Annie, the grit of Gloria and the constant Oma. These Dutch women were strong enough to know they couldn’t do it themselves and leaned on each other.

I think that’s what most fascinates me. Having strength isn’t the point. Being able to carry the load all by yourself is not strength. Knowing how to lean on each other is. Hurt is guaranteed. People will disappoint you, maybe even leave. Finding in the midst of it all that your hope isn’t bound up in a human being walking around somewhere but rather it’s solidly found and anchored in the One who makes all manner of things well: that’s strength. 

This book will wreck you and most likely make you cry, but you will hug your people tighter afterward and remember hope is never more beautiful and precious than when held together with grief. 

Themes:

Family, West Michigan, Vietnam War, 1960s, letters, hope, grief, strength

Recommendations:

This book is for anyone who grew up in an imperfect family. Yes, you 🙂

Do yourself a favor and read this book.

Reservations:

Not a single one – other than have a box of tissues handy.

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