Book Review: We Are Mother Abraham

We Are Mother Abraham, by Dr. Deb Waterbury

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Adams PR Group.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

This book may best be viewed as a parable.  The author clearly has serious intents in telling the story that she does but also wishes to make this a clearly fictional story while also using a story within a story to use her fictional tale as a way of building the credibility of her fictionalized account and view of Sarah’s grief in having to let go of Isaac before the sacrifice he nearly had to endure.  This is not the first such book I have read that has such an approach [1], but it is unusual to see books that are so obviously didactic but at the same time fictional.  This book reminds me most of those fictionalized stories that the people who ran the teen Bible studies of my youth constantly wanted me and other teenagers to act out parts in.  The fact that this book is aimed at women who probably have a hard time letting go of their adult children and are not really in control of their lives as much as they want to present to others, and especially who are a part of various women’s study groups makes it more didactic in nature.

This book is a bit more than 200 pages and is 24 chapters long.  A quarter of the chapters make up the story “We Are Mother Abraham,” the story within the story that the protagonist and her fellow middle aged Christian women are reading for a book club/Bible study group.  This story on its own would make a reasonably interesting short story that invents some characters and that provides some feminine insights to a familiar story.  It is easy enough to see why the author would portray this as being read by a women’s group associated with a church.  While this is clearly the core of the book, though, it is framed within a story of a mother trying to deal with her neglected son and his older sister who happens to be a drug addict struggling with a bad boyfriend and an alarming tendency to relapse.  This story seems to be included mainly to give credibility to the insights that the author has concerning Sarah as a suitable example for people to follow when it comes to learning how to deal with the fact that they cannot control the lives of their wayward relatives.  Here’s hoping the lesson sinks in.

Ultimately, the main character in this book tended to bother me more than a little.  She certainly is a sort of person that many readers will likely be able to relate with and quite possibly is quite similar to the author herself, although not knowing her I would have no way of knowing this to be true.  It just seemed that she was able to really relate to the main character’s insecurities.  The author clearly demonstrated some intriguing views of Sarah, but the title of this book bothered me since it was not as if the author was being like Father Abraham but like Mother Sarah.  The author didn’t seem to get the point that by emphasizing Sarah’s struggle to let go of her son, a struggle that is nowhere stated in scripture but that may be inferred from some of the details provided, she needed to focus on Sarah rather than Abraham as the model for the book.  More to the point, despite talking a lot about letting go, the book does as poor job of showing it, giving a moralistic happy ending to the melodramatic main plot, but not a really satisfying one.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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