Quick Picks: Mixed Media's May Reviews

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’Til I Want No More

By Robin W. Pearson
Reviewed by Lorilee Craker

Author Robin W. Pearson (A Long Time Comin’) is a rarity in Christian fiction: An African American who writes about the faith and family focus of African American characters. She’s also a top-drawer storyteller, having won a Christy Award for her first novel. In her followup, ‘Til I Want No More, Pearson offers readers a savory story of one young woman and the secrets that threaten to upend her carefully balanced life. I was sad to leave these characters behind when I turned the last page, but hopeful, too, that readers haven’t seen the last of these characters and everyone who loves them. An effervescent new voice in Southern fiction and inspirational fiction, Pearson and her novels are perfect for readers who love sprawling family dramas told with warmth and humor. (Tyndale)

The Girl with the Louding Voice Audiobook

By Abi Daré, narrated by Adjoa Andoh
Reviewed by Michelle Loyd-Paige

A New York Times bestseller and a Today Show Book Club pick, this is the unforgettable, inspiring story of a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself. It is a story of sorrow, poverty, betrayal, cruelty, and violence. Yet it is also a story about the power of a “nevertheless hope.” The narration by Adjoa Andoh is at first a little hard to follow because Adunni’s English is broken and Andoh employs a strong Nigerian accent. After the first couple of chapters, my ears got used to the accent, and my appreciation of Andoh’s narration skills grew. Recommended for mature audiences. (12 hours, 6 minutes, Penguin Audio)

The Making of Biblical Womanhood

By Beth Allison Barr
Reviewed by Li Ma

In this influential new book, a historian asserts that “Biblical womanhood” isn’t biblical, but rather arose from a series of clearly definable historical moments. As a pastor’s wife who was once an insider within conservative evangelicalism, Barr now writes this book to clear the house of patriarchy. She flips the narrative by showing that evangelicals have always selectively interpreted biblical texts, written in patriarchal worlds, with regard to gender roles. The author contends that women tend to fall into one of two camps within the complementarian system: adapter-enablers and victim-survivors. The author candidly admits that she has traveled from the first to the second. The last chapter presents in great detail how both subgroups have fared in America’s mass-mediated public sphere. (Brazos)

Brother’s Keeper

By Julie Lee
Reviewed by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema

In 1950 in North Korea, 12-year-old Sora Pak dreams of continuing her education and becoming a writer. But life in the tyrannical communist state is permeated with suspicion, fear, rules, and strictly defined gender roles. As political oppression mounts, the Paks finally make their escape to South Korea. When Sora and her brother, Youngsoo, are separated from their parents during an air raid, the two are thrust on an exacting, treacherous journey in which Sora exceeds her culture’s expectations of what girls are capable of. Inspired by author Julie Lee’s mother’s experiences fleeing North Korea, Brother’s Keeper offers middle-grade readers a stirring portrait of a courageous female protagonist who sacrifices much for the sake of her brother and family yet persistently pursues her own ambitions. (Holiday House)

The Lowdown

Prey Tell: Addressing men and women in all work settings within the church and beyond, author and podcast host Tiffany Bluhm sets out to understand the cultural and spiritual narratives that silence women. (Baker/Brazos)

Marvel’s Phase 4 Begins: Black Widow is a prequel focusing on Scarlett Johansson’s character Natasha Romanoff. (PG-13, Marvel Studios, May 7)

Hemingway: Ken Burns’ latest subject is literary legend Ernest Hemingway. The three-part documentary not only delves into the writer’s iconic career, but the mythology and tragedy behind his life. (PBS)

A Little-known WWII Story: In The Last Green Valley, by Mark T. Sullivan, it’s March 1944, and Emeline and Adeline Martel must decide whether they want to follow the hated Nazis or wait for the Soviets to conquer Ukraine and thus live under Stalin’s rule. (May 4, Lake Union)

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