Everything Happens for a Reason Summary and Reviews

Everything Happens for a Reason

And Other Lies I've Loved

by Kate Bowler

Everything Happens for a Reason by Kate Bowler X
Everything Happens for a Reason by Kate Bowler
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2018
    208 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

A divinity professor and young mother with a Stage IV cancer diagnosis explores the pain and joy of living without certainty.

Kate Bowler is a professor at Duke Divinity School with a modest Christian upbringing, but she specializes in the study of the prosperity gospel, a creed that sees fortune as a blessing from God and misfortune as a mark of God's disapproval. At thirty-five, everything in her life seems to point toward "blessing." She is thriving in her job, married to her high school sweetheart, and loves life with her newborn son.

Then she is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.

The prospect of her own mortality forces Kate to realize that she has been tacitly subscribing to the prosperity gospel, living with the conviction that she can control the shape of her life with "a surge of determination." Even as this type of Christianity celebrates the American can-do spirit, it implies that if you "can't do" and succumb to illness or misfortune, you are a failure. Kate is very sick, and no amount of positive thinking will shrink her tumors. What does it mean to die, she wonders, in a society that insists everything happens for a reason? Kate is stripped of this certainty only to discover that without it, life is hard but beautiful in a way it never has been before.

Frank and funny, dark and wise, Kate Bowler pulls the reader deeply into her life in an account she populates affectionately with a colorful, often hilarious retinue of friends, mega-church preachers, relatives, and doctors. Everything Happens for a Reason tells her story, offering up her irreverent, hard-won observations on dying and the ways it has taught her to live.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This poignant look at the unpredictable promises of faith will amaze readers." - Publishers Weekly

"An inspiring story of finding faith - in God, in family, and in oneself - while walking close to the Valley of the Shadow of Death." - Kirkus

"I fell hard and fast for Kate Bowler. Her writing is naked, elegant, and gripping - she's like a Christian Joan Didion. I left Kate's story feeling more present, more grateful, and a hell of a lot less alone. And what else is art for?" - Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Warrior and president of Together Rising

"A meditation on sense-making when there's no sense to be made, on letting go when we can't hold on, and on being unafraid even when we're terrified. And it happens to be hilarious. Above all, though, this is a love letter to life, and it's gorgeous." - Lucy Kalanithi, MD, FACP, clinical assistant professor of medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine

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Kate Bowler is an assistant professor at Duke Divinity School. A graduate of Yale Divinity School and Duke University, Bowler is the author of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son.

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