In a quiet way, miscarriage affects roughly one out of every four births. The frequency of it results in silence encouraged by the minimization of its severity. Because of that minimization, few understand how to navigate it and even fewer understand how to help those trying to navigate it. Experiencing the misfortune of miscarriage, Adriel Booker has to chosen to not only be open about her experiences but seeks to help others with such loss through her book, Grace Like Scarlett.
Utilizing water (boating, surfing, etc.) themes, Grace Like Scarlettis structured around six parts, from being thrown overboard to being anchored in God. There is a logical progression as she opens with her own story of miscarrying while in Rome filled with brain and loss, moving forward through suffering, grief, and isolation, until closing out with chapters of trusting fully in God and moving forward. Each of the six parts closes with a prompt to urge readers to journal their experience. Finally, the book concludes with a series of appendices, and ones that are useful to mothers, fathers, and friends of the family.
The author writes with heavy emotion. While it is necessary to be cautious about over-reliance on emotions, hers come from a deep conviction about the preciousness of life. Therefore, the emotion one finds here is well-grounded and calls attention to the difficulty of the loss of a child. That emotion also allows the author to write in a very real and practical way that is helpful to readers.
However, the deeper into the book I went the deeper my concerns were. There was much to appreciate the book, but there were some major doctrinal concerns (from seeming to affirm Catholic theology in the opening chapter to citing some questionable people in the later parts of the book). While she argues that she is not writing the book to teach doctrine, her theology impacts both the interpretation of miscarriage and the practical respond to it. Much of her conversation seems to initiated from a very low view of God’s sovereignty. At times she denies that God has control over all circumstances (see chapter 11), while concluding that doubt is a requirement for faith to exist (chapter 10; admittedly, I understand a bit of what she is saying in her examples, but her argument is unconvincing because it seems to deny that faith maintains a certainty based on rational expectation and interpretation of who God is and what he has done). This extends further in the book as well as she seems to waver between biblical conviction and secular seasoning. There are points in which she relies heavily on Scripture while others parts are absent any biblical thoughts and infiltrated with secular theories about grief and overcoming it.
In many ways, this book is a tragedy, mostly because I had such high hopes for it. This is a topic that is seldom discussed and help is needed. Furthermore, her experiences have led her to write a book that all people (primarily women, but not them alone) can identify with and take lessons from. Yet, the doctrinal errors are so glaring that it’s hard to endorse it.
To see more about the book, click here.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no cost to me for the purposes of review. However, my review was not influenced in any way by the publisher, the author, or any other person associated with the book and is the result of my own reading of it.