Book Review

Book Review, A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker

I am re-posting this review as a refresher for next week, in which I will host Amy Julia Becker on this blog in an author interview (and giveaway!).

This is why I like Amy Julia Becker: she takes a complimentary comment (“What a perfect family”) – holds it up to a biblical lens “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”, reflects on it then whips out her Greek dictionary (she has a Greek dictionary!!! who has a Greek dictionary?!!) and discovers the root of the word, perfect: telos. Translated, it can be as she discovers, “perfect” or it can be “wholeness, completion, the end for which you are created.”

A Good and Perfect Gift. A gift of wholeness, of completion, the gift of her daughter, Penelope, who was gifted herself with an extra chromosome.

Amy Julia is an honest examiner with a clean poetic bent. She infuses the house of her Faith with huge blasts of spiritual air, gulps of (sometimes painful) self-reflection and a relentless pursuit for truth. Finding the core of the matter.

I cried when I read parts of her book. I don’t want to be a spoiler yet I want to talk about the things that she wrote of that had me up all night. Like wrapping her mind over and around the term “mental retardation” – and what that meant – or didn’t mean. Or disability. Or Jesus’ call to “follow me where you do not want to go” – and what that would mean. how I still well up reading certain lines like that “this delightful daughter of mine was going to endure a list of things that I wold never choose for her.”

I loved the frank and fearless way Amy Julia recounted her feelings regarding the “encouraging” things people said she could look forward to with a child with Down syndrome ( like, um…that they could take the bus to work alone or be a dishwasher – YAY!) and led us through to what really brought her a measure of comfort – stories of people with Down syndrome who might teach her to “slow down, to love deeply, to compete less, to live more fully – these are the stories that bring hope.”

She scrutinizes that same hope. Fear. Investigates the “soft bigotry of low expectation.” Mulls over concepts of beauty and our culture. Faith. Amy Julia is an analyzer and let me tell you: she takes the scalpel and dissects faith. She is a hard-thinking Christian, the kind that I (not being Christian), most thoroughly enjoy.

This book will is a must for all Christians – but perhaps a trifle obviously, I don’t believe you need to be Christian to appreciate it or enjoy the story of her journey to acceptance and more, appreciation for her daughter.

To connect with Amy Julia Becker:
1.Amy Julia’s blog: Thin Places (and yes – it inspired my whole Thin Places series! Thank you, Amy Julia!)
2. Amy Julia on Facebook
3. Website:

Amazon has a $2.99 kindle special on her book until the end of June – it’s a great time to grab your copy – click here.

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Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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  1. OK, so she is somehow connected with the church I used to go to and EVERYONE I know (slight overstatement) has told me I need to order her book. Which I’ll do, unless I win it.

    You know my email.

  2. And I am a facebook follower. (But not like a cult follower, just a “I like you and think you’re cool” follower.)

  3. I’ve enjoyed reading her, too. Haven’t read the book yet, though, but I’m sure I’d enjoy it! Uh, can you dry clean it first, though? Not sure I want the tear stains…
    (my e-mail isn’t linked here, but you know how to find me – in a non-creepy fashion…)

  4. This is actually on my hold list with the library. I think I’m next in line for it but I get kind of impatient. πŸ™‚ I will have to follow you on Facebook when I get home tonight.

  5. Okay, I already had it on my list of things to do (read that book, blog about it, put away 76 piles of laundry…you know, THAT list?) but now you totally inspired me! If I don’t win your dog-eared copy (because just holding something that was once in the same house as the adorable Moxie would make my day!) I am FOR SURE going to order a copy myself! Thank you for reminding me!

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