The Book of Longings
By: Sue Monk Kidd
Possibly controversial opinion: marrying Jesus is a snooze and was a big obstacle in my enjoyment of this book.
After a strong start to this well-written book about Ana, a young want to be writer whose parents treat her like crap and attempt to marry her off to this awful old man but eventually becomes the wife of Jesus, I had a hard time finding the desire to pick it up.
When I finally did and slogged through the rest of the middle to a pretty good ending I realized it was that middle encompassing Ana’s marriage that was the problem. It was boring. I mean we see very little of Jesus as he’s always traveling for work and then his ministry.
If they were actors I’d say they have no chemistry. In fact it kind of plays out that he marries her because she’s in trouble and he kind of needs to and obviously Jesus so you don’t get much better in terms of “good guys.” But there’s never any spark and she spends most of those years stuck with her in-laws and of course there’s an unpleasant sister-in-law.
At least in the beginning and end we got some good historical interaction. The Library of Alexandria makes an appearance! How could I not love that?
But putting some time between myself and finishing the book I realized it was Ana too who was a problem for me. I just never connected or cared about her. Since I liked the historical aspect I would rather have read about her Aunt Yalta, her sister-in-law Salome (not the one she hated), the Priestesses at the Temple of Isis or Herod’s runaway wife. Just not Ana.
So yeah The Book of Longing was a well-written book with some historical interest and gender issues but the main character of Ana, Jesus wife, missed the mark for me as did her marriage.
I’m a little torn on this one. I’d recommend for historical elements and some strong female characters throughout.
Not so much on the main selling point of the novel, “Hey what if Jesus had a wife!” Because honestly that’s kind of the least interesting point!