Thursday, May 3, 2012

Book Review: Heaven in Her Arms

In Heaven in Her Arms by Catherine Hickem looks at the relationship Mary, the mother of Jesus, had with her Son.  Hickem offers practical applications for mothers today to learn from Mary.

I don't think I've ever reviewed something that I found it necessary to say do NOT buy this! But I feel like that's what I need to do with this book. I was soo excited about this book from the description. I love digging deep into the PEOPLE of the Bible, and seeing what we can learn from them, as we look at them as people, not just 2-dimensional words on a page of an ancient book. So I had high hopes for this book. However, as I began to read it, I was not only disappointed, I was appalled!

I knew this wasn't a book for me when the author shares a story in which she tells of a mother bringing her 4 year old daughter with her to a counseling session. The child was, according to Ms. Hickem, out-of-control. Not obeying when her mother asked her to come sit quietly. Ms. Hickem proceeds to describe, in the book, how she, the counselor, whom the child had just met, physically held the child, "kicking and screaming" to keep her in the corner for more than half an hour, until she "made a different choice" (as an adult, I'm not clear on what that different choice was, I  assume it meant sitting quietly instead of kicking and screaming, though I'm pretty sure that I don't want anyone teaching my child, at any age, to submit quietly to a much bigger/stronger stranger physically holding them down) . The author ends this description with these words "When the little girl finally broke, I bent down and told her she had just made a really good choice . . ."  I am appalled at this kind of "parenting advice" especially implying that this is how Mary parented Jesus! I am quite certain I do NOT want my children described as "broken" as if that's a good thing! If this was just a book I had purchased or borrowed, I would have closed it and been done with it as soon as I read those words. But since this was a book I had agreed to review, I felt I needed to continue reading.

The next chapter described how the author and her husband,upon deciding to adopt, gave their lawyer a list of "criteria" for the child, and the child's birth parents, that, again, left me appalled. Here's a woman who put in her "order" for a child with "higher than average intelligence" and a whole list of other things I won't go into, WHAT?!?!?! The great irony of this to me is, had Mary chosen to put her Son up for adoption, JESUS would not have met this woman's criteria for a child to adopt!!! Why should I read this woman's ideas about what kind of a mother Mary was if someone meeting Mary's description isn't even qualified to be the birth mother of her own adopted child?

Still, I pushed on through another chapter or two, trying to "follow the rules" and read the whole book. But what I found was, at this point, I was so ANGRY at what I'd already read, the disrespect toward children and adoption, that even when she made a point that, on it's own, would be good, all I could see was how it contradicted the very thing she had described in the earlier chapters. I finally gave up, there may very well be some good points in this book, but the horrendous parenting advice and attitude toward adoption, that is present in those first few chapters negates any good that might be found in the book, in my opinion!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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