Everywhere The Soles Of Your Feet Shall Tread, by Jennifer Hanisch
This book is obviously the passion project of the writer, and shows itself clearly as the work of someone who feels compelled to write not out of vanity but out of a desire to express deep and powerful feelings about painful life experiences, and seeking to make sense of them through examining the course of human history as well as various matters of science and religion. In many ways, this book buries the lead, a tendency that would be less pronounced if the author were trained as a writer, especially a journalist. Most readers will find this book to be highly puzzling, especially because the contents of paragraphs jump around for unnumbered pages, and it is only at the very end of the book that all of this makes sense. When one has finished the book, one realizes that the author’s lengthy and searching research and interest in understanding the melancholy course of human history as well as questions about the intergenerational curses involving alcoholism, for example. Once one gets to the end of this book, the rest of the book makes a lot more sense, and aspects of the book that might seem a bit frustrating make a lot of sense when one knows the ending.
This book is a relatively short one, though without page numbers it is hard to know for sure exactly how short. The book begins with an introduction that provides context about writing and religion. After that comes the first chapter, which deals with the subject of epigenetics and discusses the importance of trauma (1). This is followed by a chapter on stereotypes and discrimination (2). This is followed by a chapter that contrasts free will and determinism (3) and that shows the author being particularly critical with Calvinism and its idea of total depravity. After this comes another comparison between punitive and restorative justice (4). This is followed by another chapter that contrasts suicide and martyrdom (5). At this point in the book the reader might wonder about the tension in the book that seeks to affirm free will while also talking about epigenetics and other ways in which people might not be held entirely responsible for their behavior. It is at this point that the book shifts in its focus for the last two chapters, the first one dealing with the domestic drama of Christopher and Aimee (6), and then with the author’s son Nathan (7), after which the book ends with an index.
All that said, there are still some ways that this book could be a bit better and a bit easier to read. This book lacks page numbers, for example. Similarly, there are quite a few cases where this book could use some editing, the word tenant is misspelled as tenet in one such example, and there are others. For the most part, the book shows itself to be the product of a self-published author who is clearly very interested in demonstrating her knowledge and research (which is cited at the end of the book). Additionally, there are hundreds of examples, perhaps even thousands, of sentence which state that something is defined in a certain way or means a certain thing or indicates a certain thing. There are so many statements that the reader is told of in a declarative manner that could be disagreed with, but their point is not so much to convince the reader as to reveal the thinking process of the writer. And if a reader comes to this book and does not understand what the author is getting at, it would be worthwhile for the author to look at the last couple of chapters of this book and then continue, as the ending is what makes sense of the book as a whole.