Book Review: Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

From the Back Cover

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at forty. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what’s next, never imagining what God had in mind. 

When her estranged sister returns to town, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a five-year-old nephew she never knew she had. In 1960’s small-town Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling. 

My Thoughts

Susie Finkbeiner has once again breathed life into a period of history that I didn’t experience. 

The timing of this story into the world isn’t a mistake. It’s not a radical cultural change message. It’s not a slap-across-the-face or kick-in-the-heinie. It is simply a woman living her ordinary life which is often the way God often brings changes and turns us to see wrongs we accepted before. 

Story is so powerful. Jesus knew it. Every teacher knows it. Stop and read this – listening for the whispers of the things God wants you to see. Remember change doesn’t simply happen to “big figures” in history. It always starts with very ordinary people willing to step out of their tiny normal. 

Even the laughable act of putting pen to paper and spinning a story becomes stronger than a sword when done well. It gets written down and remembered. Those remembered thoughts become seeds which get planted in fertile listening hearts one day produce change.

In Stories That Bind Us, Susie has spun a quiet story of an ordinary woman whose heart becomes whole even as it breaks for her sweet nephew. It is tenderly revolutionary. It breathes hope into the idea that change can actually happen. If ordinary people simply love and act? That is the best and most lasting change that could ever happen.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

Themes

The power of story, 1960’s, family, small-town life, mental illness and institutions, Civil Rights movement.

Recommendations

Go read about my new brave friend Betty Sweet. She will capture your heart. I daresay, you just might take up some tender revolutionary act for your own.

Reservations

Not one teeny bit.

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