Rating:

Reviewed by Michelle S.

As a Unitarian Minister, Maine State Game Warden Chaplain, Mother, Widow, and Wife, Kate Braestrup shares her observations on love and the meaning of life through her latest memoir, Marriage and Other Acts of Charity.

Braestrup’s musings meander from subject to subject without an apparent direction other than to impress upon the reader just what love is. She reminds us that there is more than one kind of love, and charity (or caritas as she calls it throughout) is the kind of love that brings us closer to God and gives our lives meaning.

Charity isn’t just about giving a donation to the poor, but giving of yourself for those you don’t know, as well as for those you love. Charity is taking the woman who fell off the bus to the hospital, as well as cleaning out a fish tank in the middle of the night. Charity shows that unlike the movie Love Story’s famous quote, love does mean saying you’re sorry over and over again. Charity means that knowing “till death do us part” is the best case scenario for your marriage, and that you want to marry your spouse anyway.

While I enjoyed the lessons Braestrup made throughout her memoir, I feel I may have been at a disadvantage by listening to the audio version.

[amazonify]1600247784[/amazonify]I found it hard to get into it at first because listening to someone read and listening to someone talk are two completely different things. Braestrup also sounded tentative at first, but seemed to find her stride in later chapters. After becoming accustomed to the author’s voice, it finally seemed like I was listening to a relative or friend talk about all of the crazy things that go on in her life.

Marriage and Other Acts of Charity also seemed to be overwrought with intellectual words that seemed out of place. The stories Braestrup told are straight out of her small-town Maine life, but then she tosses in words like palimpsest, inchoate, and sylphic. Braestrup also insists on saying caritas instead of charity throughout the book, as though she were trying to make the memoir an intellectual pursuit as opposed to one of love.

Other than those nuisances, I found Marriage and Other Acts of Charity completely charming, and full of ideas to ponder.

Michelle recently returned to her West Virginia roots to re-invent herself. She is the principal (okay, only) web and graphic designer at Michelle My Belle Designs and uses the rest of her free time to write her own book blog 52 Self-help Books. Putting up with her madness is her husband Jason, dog Leo, and rabbit Macchiato.

This audio book was provided free of any obligation by Hachette Book Group. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.