Book Review: The Book of Longings
This book was heavy, and by that I don’t mean in the sense of disturbing, or overly serious, but more in the sense that it just gave me a LOT to consider and think about long after I had finished its pages. One thing I did not have to consider, however, is that this will definitely be one of the best books I read this year.
The Book of Longings is the fictional story of Ana, the wife of Jesus Christ. While this is not Jesus in the theological sense, but rather the historical sense, it was absolutely fascinating to learn about him and what he was like/could have been like simply as a person rather than just this biblical figure. As a Christian, viewing him in that lens was just astounding.
Although the book does detail the stories we know about Jesus and his ministry, it is focused on Ana, as it follows her from young girlhood throughout the rest of her life, sharing how she can both follow her own path while also honoring that of her husband. Her story alone was interesting to me as it focuses on how women are so often told to live their lives a specific way for the sake of family, or religion, or culture, instead of listening to that little voice, that longing, inside. She struggles with this constant feeling of longing and how she can pursue that and follow her dreams.
The level of detail that is in this book, and the sheer amount of research that had to go into it, is that of a historical fiction lover’s dreams. I could not get enough knowledge about the houses of the time period, or the customs, or the laws, food, rules, fashion, beliefs, etc. If you are someone who appreciates history, you will love it.
As for the story of Jesus, and the possibility of his having a wife, who knows? Sue Monk Kidd crafted a beautiful alternative to the iconic prophet, offering it up as a possibility and providing a realistic backdrop to his story, making him truly human and divine all at the same time.