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Reviews

Once You Go In, Carly Gelsinger

Julie L. Moore

As one who’s taught in Christian Higher Education for decades, I’ve experienced both healthy and hostile environments. The hostile culture allowed no one to question the authority of the leaders, who bullied employees, purged those viewed as too liberal, and of course, mandated women exercise their voices only in the most submissive and modest manner imaginable.

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The Multitude, Hannah Faith Notess

Megan Pooler

Every once in a while, a writer beautifully expresses the human longing for illumination, causing the reader to sit still for a moment, unable to jump right up and re-enter the everyday world. Hannah Faith Notess offers this experience in her collection of poems, The Multitude.

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The Long Weeping, Jessie Van Eerden

Christie Purifoy

Ours has been called the age of literary memoir. Though I roll my eyes at grandiose words like age—predictably so since ours is also, we are told, an age of irony—I am convinced there is substance to this claim. Memoir, and its umbrella category creative nonfiction, belongs to us in the way the doorstop novel belonged to the Victorians.

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Phases, Mischa Willett: "The Truth is Like Poetry"

Michael Minkoff, Jr.

Mischa Willett begins his first book of poems, Phases, behind a lectern—a dusty word that conjures the professor or the preacher, either of which would be appropriate here. And from this lectern, Willett’s pastor/shepherd calls the whole human race—readers, speaker, writer, all—“sheep.” And not the adorable, acceptable sheep of the safe and precious metaphor we’re sometimes comfortable placing on children. No, we are all the sheep Andre Dubus describes in “Out Like a Lamb”: “stupid, helpless brutes” who “without constant watching . . . would foolishly destroy themselves.”

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The Middle of Things, Meghan Florian

Amy Peterson

Writing in her late twenties, Meghan Florian is not quite writing from middle-age, or from a mid-life crisis. So what does it mean to her to be in “the middle of things?” The second essay in this slender collection, “What about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?” contains the line for which the book is named, and helps illuminate the place from which Florian writes.

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I Will Shout Your Name, John Matthew Fox

Megan Pooler

John Matthew Fox's short story collection, I Will Shout Your Name, looks at missionaries and people of faith from an unexpected perspective – their flaws. Doubt and faith, hesitation and commitment, love and hate all mingle together to create complex characters which initially left me uncertain how to understand the collection as a whole.  As I continued reading, connected themes and repeated questions began to emerge.

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Dangerous Territory, Amy Peterson

Megan Pooler

Amy Peterson reflects on the two years she worked overseas in her memoir Dangerous Territory with care and vulnerability.  As part of her graduate studies, she went to Southeast Asia to teach English and quietly share the gospel.  What followed disassembled everything she though she knew.

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Tasty Other, Katie Manning

Megan Pooler

Katie Manning's poetry collection, Tasty Other, is an honest, clever, and complex reflection on pregnancy and motherhood. As a single woman in my 30s, the majority of my female friends are moms. "Motherhood changes you," they say. I nod, seeing this truth play out in front of me, but never really understanding their meaning.  Manning’s poems invite me to a deeper empathy with all that my mom-friends experience.

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