Title: Marriage and Other Acts of Charity: A Memoir
Author: Kate Braestrup
Release Date: January 13, 2010
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Kate Braestrup is an ordained Unitarian minister, and in her second memoir, she shares some of her thoughts on marriage, love, and God, and how the three are interconnected.
I have to admit, when I first picked up Marriage and Other Acts of Charity, I was a little nervous. After all, it is written by a minister (I didn’t know she was Unitarian until I actually started reading the book) and I don’t handle preaching in books very well. Still, it looked like it might be an interesting perspective on marriage, so I decided to give it a try, and I’m glad I did. Braestrup is funny, wise, and honest, but never preachy about her beliefs or values.
Though Braestrup’s beliefs are heavily rooted in the Christian tradition and she refers to the Bible often, this is not a “Christian” book. Instead, it’s a look at love and its importance in daily life. Braestrup details her early life and relationships, and trust me, she is not always perfect. This isn’t a book about a woman who lords her flawless life over the reader. Instead, Braestrup commiserates with the reader, saying “I know this is hard, but love is important.”
I also found Braestrup’s experiences as a warden chaplain to be fascinating. She is the one called to the site of disasters and accidents in order to give comfort to those involved, as well as those left behind. I would have loved more information about these experiences. I’m planning on picking up Braestrup’s first memoir Here If You Need Me, which has more about this part of her life.
Marriage and Other Acts of Charity is a slip of a book, but it’s one worth reading. It’s a quiet, calming memoir that will have you reflecting on your life and what is most important to you. I also love her definition of God in the novel, as well as how she comes to it. It’s an inspiring and hopeful book that will leave the reader with a sense of calm after its last pages are turned.