Saturday, February 25, 2012

Book Review - Diappointment

A couple weeks ago I received a copy of "We Lived in Heaven" by Sarah Hinze to review. I worked my way through the book quite quickly as it is a very easy read. The book is a series of accounts from different people describing personal experiences of having "met" or "seen" the spirits of their children before they were born.

Because I have a strong belief in the pre-existance, that we lived as spirits in the presence of God before we were born to this mortal life, I expected this to be a strong, uplifting book confirming that belief.

However, I was disappointed by this book. Within the first few pages the point is made that some families have experiences with pre-birth spirits. Then page after page after page basically retells that same thing in different ways. While I am sure each experience was unique to the persons involved, that uniqueness was not really captured in the telling of the stories. It felt redundant.

Aside from the sense of repetition, the writing style did not impress me. I suspect the feelings that the various people portrayed in the book experienced were extremely powerful. In my mind, that power was not adequately conveyed in the book. What were, I am sure, very tender and sacred moments in families were reduced to short peeks that were little more than sound bites of stories. Some were down right anti-climactic.

I understand it is an extremely challenging thing to capture wonder and awe in words. It's sort of like trying to describe the taste of salt. You can say what it is NOT, you can give examples of something that IS. But how can you paint a taste or a spiritual experience with words to convey it to another person who has not had a similar experience? So, in that sense, I give the author credit for trying to take on this very formidable task, and perhaps I should not expect more.

But as a reader, I do expect more. And this book did not deliver it.

Beyond that, I was uncomfortable with the whole idea of sharing these deeply personal and sacred experiences in a book of this type.

I absolutely agree with the author that we did indeed live in heaven before coming to this world. I do not doubt the veracity of her experiences. I do question her motives in publishing this book. These tales, I believe, would have been better served in private journals of the families involved rather than put on display for the public.

Am I being too harsh? Perhaps. Maybe some will really enjoy the stories - feel the uplifting inspiration that no doubt the author was trying to convey. But honestly I wrestled for days trying to think of some positive spin I could put on describing the book. For me, it just wasn't there.

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