Thank you to Baker Books for providing me with an advanced copy of Emily Wierenga's Making it Home, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT- Emily Wierenga is struggling. She is married to a devoted husband, and is mother to two young, healthy, happy boys. Her mother has recently become a cancer survivor, and Wierenga herself overcame multiple bouts of anorexia. Despite her blessings, which she is quick to acknowledge, she still struggles with her perceived need to be perfect. She struggles to find the balance between taking care of her family, and taking care of her own needs, which include her dreams of becoming a published author.
LIKE- Wierenga has a big heart and she pours it out on the page. Occasionally, this leads to passages that lean towards the melodramatic, but to put a positive spin on it, I think Wierenga is just a very emotional person. She wears her heart on her sleeve.
As a fellow perfectionist, I could identify with some of Wierenga's internal struggles. I felt a pit in my stomach, and felt the familiar, when I read about her meltdowns over control problems. Her imperfections and struggles make this a complex memoir.
A few stand-out sections of the book, are when Wierenga and her husband foster two boys, bringing their household to four boys under the age of five. Yikes! There is a real sense of kindness in the Wierenga family, even when they are admitting to their fears and problems. My favorite part of the book was Wierenga's trip to Africa, a country where she spent time as a child. This is a life altering trip for her, and this section is gut wrenching.
Simply put, I liked Wierenga's honesty and openness.
DISLIKE- I requested this book from Netgalley and based on the description, this was not the story that I was expecting. A huge component of Wierenga's memoir deals with her wrestling with questions involving her faith and living a Christ-filled life. I'm not religious, but I don't necessarily mind reading stories with a religious bent. Wierenga is Christian, and this is key to every aspect of how she lives her life, which is highly important to the truth in her memoir. It couldn't have been downplayed or eliminated. She talks about it on nearly every page of this book, and for me, it got tedious. I felt a disconnect. If the synopsis had mentioned this aspect of her memoir, I would not have likely requested it.
That said, if you're devoutly Christian, this book might really resonate with you. I can think of several friends that I would recommend Making it Home to. I had never heard of Wierenga prior to reading her memoir, but after the fact, I've discovered that she is a prominent Christian writer, and I think that I might have friends who have heard of her.
RECOMMEND- Depends. I enjoyed Making it Home on many levels, and I'm glad to have been introduced to Wierenga. However, I think that both her overt sentimentality and strong Christian views, could be off-putting to some readers. She may have a specific, rather than a broad, audience for her writing.