Monday, December 14, 2009

Book Review: Emily's Hope

by Ellen Gable
Pakenham, Ontario: Full Quiver Publishing
"Emily's Hope" is an interesting novel, connecting the lives of a great-grandmother living at the turn of the century and a great-granddaughter growing up in the 1970s. Gable contrasts the sexual choices that they make and their openness toward life. Katherine is an unhappily married woman who seeks out sexual partners, has several back-alley abortions, and is an early adopter of birth control. She also tries to help other women who seek out this information, even though she risks prosecution from the police. Emily, growing up in the modern era, starts out thinking premarital sex and birth control are fine, until her boyfriend and future husband is adamantly against them. He convinces her of the error of her ways. They choose Natural Family Planning and struggle with ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, but go on to have five beautiful children.

This book isn't for everyone. The main purpose of it is to educate people about the Church's teaching on NFP and marriage. Perhaps it can open some eyes to the reasons for this teaching. Mainly, it made me very thankful for the gift of today's NFP. I felt badly for the women who sought out Katherine's help - women who had given birth several times during a short period of time, who were exhausted, impoverished, and abused by their husbands. While the choices they made weren't right, they were understandable. Those women were desperate. I'm so glad that we have reliable Natural Family Planning today. While many people reject it, the Church's teaching is designed to help couples and marriages to be life-giving and provide for responsible parenthood. I do wish more people could see that. Gable is to be commended for treating this difficult topic in "Emily's Hope."

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