Wounded Women Of The Bible: Finding Hope When Life Hurts, by Dena Dyer & Tina Samples
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Kregel Publications/Authors Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review.]
This book took a lot longer to reach me than it did to review. It was originally sent to my previous address after having been delayed, and ended up not reaching my place until the second attempt at sending it from the publisher. Sadly, because of the delays I barely missed the blog tour date, but such is the life, I suppose. This book is like some of the other ones I have reviewed  in being a book written by women, about women, and for women. In reading such books as a man who is generally sympathetic to the concerns of women, I often find it a bit frustrating when a book assumes that it will have few if any male readers and therefore assumes its audience is women, as this book (and many others like it) does. The authors of this book (falsely) assumes that men would not be empathetic or understanding about the concerns raised in this book and so it ascribes to women a sisterhood of unique and privileged understanding that is neither helpful in solving the divide between men and women nor an accurate understanding.
In reading this book I was reminded rather often and rather forcefully of the fact that the lives and stories of the authors and their circle of friends was not so different from my own. Given that this book deals with unpleasant subjects, this was neither surprising nor particularly pleasant. The stories of this particular book are united by loss, exile, barrenness, isolation, poverty, death, sexual abuse (and plenty of other forms of abuse), alcoholic and abusive families, traumas and hurts. Ultimately, the goal of the authors is reconciliation between the readers of this book with God and with others, a noble and laudable aim, although it would have been better for the book to assume a more universal audience to help in this purpose. This book is designed for sharing and talking and is written from an emotional perspective and about emotionally loaded material. It will likely be treasured and appreciated and helpful for its intended audience of godly suffering women who need to understand that God loves them even in the midst of difficult times, through the use of biblical stories that are familiar to many (including me ), ranging from Mary and Martha to the widow of Zerephath, Jochebed (Moses’ mother), Abigail, David & Bathsheba, Dinah, Ruth, Jephthah’s daughter, and Hagar, among others. The fact that this book is not scholarly ought not to offend many of its readers, most of whom probably are looking more for relational and emotional healing rather than for erudite scholarly analysis.
This book is a quick read and designed to be particularly sympathetic. The authors involved and those whose stories they tell are perhaps guilty of oversharing, although as someone who is likewise guilty of that particular offense, I cannot be too critical of this tendency. To some extent, the goals of this book (and my own goals as a writer) require a great deal of honesty and candor to demonstrate the ability to relate to and understand the darker side of human existence and the hope we can find in Jesus despite life’s troubles and horrors. Many of the stories of women here deal with serious abuse, as well as its repercussions in post-traumatic distress disorder, chronic fatigue, and autoimmune difficulties, issues I know for myself and with family members all too well. It is unfortunate that the authors of this book did not appear to entirely understand or appreciate that their potential audience is far larger than merely women, an oversight that may be rectified in future editions of this book. Nevertheless, for those women who want to find a sympathetic Christian work that speaks from experience and some biblical knowledge, this book presents a comforting work that meets a serious need in helping isolated and struggling women find encouragement even in life’s darkest places.
 See, for example:
 I have written about many of these stories myself: