Addie Zierman came into my life last year and now I scarcely recall a time without her friendship and her writing. I also can't remember how we first crossed paths in the blogosphere but I do remember the instant recognition of a kindred spirit. She's my people.
We commented on each other's posts and traded emails and then graduated to phone calls. We met for coffee when we were both back in the Chicago suburbs for Christmas. We have talked long and hard about writing, blogging, friendship, and life.
When my advance copy of her upcoming memoir When We Were On Fire arrived in the mail, I cried. Knowing the path it took to get to publication, knowing my friend, I was overwhelmed with pride and amazement to hold her book in my own two hands.
And then, at long last, I read it. Again, I was struck by the knowledge that Addie is my people. No, our stories aren't exactly the same but we both grew up in the evangelical subculture and we've both struggled to find our place in the church since then.
Her words were a balm time and again.
"To learn to pray is to learn to walk this labyrinth again and again, in and out, in and out. It is to be filled with honesty and determination and love, to learn to walk circularly through your whole life toward the Light at the center that never stops burning." - p. 189
When We Were On Fire is stunningly crafted and full of grace. You could take the same subculture and string together words that wound. Yet there are no bad guys here. There are mistakes- theirs, hers, ours- and there is redemption. There are things that could have been done better. There are root issues and hurts that fester but there's also hope and healing.
This is real life and it's reflected throughout the memoir. It's gritty and sometimes the language is salty. (This made me fall in love with Convergent.) Who among us hasn't experienced the power of a well placed curse word? Who hasn't recoiled from a sugar-coated platitude or whitewashed advice? By naming and honoring the dark parts, we let the light in. Addie's writing is nothing but authentic and perhaps that's why it resonated so strongly with me.
"The future will be a mix of both of these things: the devotion and the cynicism. You have to find a way for them to coexist within you." -p. 224
I finished her book the night before I went back to church. I left her a message of gratitude over the timing, of the seed of hope her words gave me. And then I told her to get to writing her next book.
Addie's writing is beautiful. Her story is stunning. The connections and insights this one book contains overwhelmed me all over again.
I don't just love this book, I adore it. I want its truths to settle down deep in me. It won't be published until October 15 and I want to shout about it from the rooftop. That's why I'm giving away 2 copies of When We Were On Fire. I believe in Addie's message and so will you.
For the giveaway:
Entering is easy! Last week I started an author Facebook page and since Facebook denied my request to merge the blog FB page with the new one (thus losing all my hard-earned Likes), all you need to do is Like the new page. (It counts if you've already Liked the page. It also means you're my favorite.) Rafflecopter will take you through it and then there's opportunities for extra entries.
Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only and will end this Saturday September 7 at midnight. Winners will be notified by email and have 48 hours to accept their prize before another winner will be picked.
(P.S. The author page doesn't mean there's exciting news to announce. Let's say it's my version of a Name It and Claim It kind of deal.)a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I was provided an advance copy of When We Were On Fire but all thoughts and opinions are my own. I decided to fund and give away two copies for Leigh Loves It of my own volition. Because this book rocks!
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