Saturday, July 25, 2009

Amazing Story, Enjoyable Story-Telling

“Oh, my.”

Pages turn.

“I didn’t know that.”

Story sings and words play in Celtic frames.

“Wow! No way.” I turn to my husband, “Babe, listen to this!”

So progresses my journey through the pages of The Life of St. Brigid: Abbess of Kildare. You’ll have to read it yourself to find out the details. The first time I read the book was to myself, silently, sitting on the couch one evening after the kids went to bed. Just the facts of the life of this amazing Irish saint are enough to make this book valuable, but I don’t recommend reading it silently or alone.

The next day, when the kids – 2 years and 6 years old – joined me on the couch and we read aloud, then the joy of Jane G. Meyer’s writing could be heard and savored. Meyer likes to play with her words, reminding me of the way my daughter likes to play with a shelf of shoes. Anyone can line the shoes up in pairs. My daughter likes to take the shoes off, rearrange them, try different combinations, get rid of some, and bring in new ones from other rooms. Jane G. Meyer does the same things with words, rearranging, ordering, changing them until the effect is more of a hybrid between prose and poetry, much like another beloved lyrical book in our home: Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall.

I teach English, and The Life of St. Brigid is so full of examples of rhetorical technique that by nature I had to start creating a lesson plan that used this text to identify certain literary devices like alliteration, repetition, assonance, and more. If you are teaching older reader-writers, you might like to use this chart (coming soon) to supplement your studies. If you are using Mary's British Isles Curriculum next year, this story of God’s faithful servant from Ireland might fit in nicely.

My only complaint in reading this book is that the creative font is hard to read if you have a headache, and not great for beginning readers. Despite these minor things, the Holy and Amazing St. Brigid is worth reading about, just for God’s story in her life.

Don’t limit yourself to an English lesson, either!

Open your heart to St. Brigid’s inspiring faith in God’s provision. (This has been an encouraging book to read as my husband continues his job search in a strained economy.)

Open your eyes to the intense colors and carefully painted Celtic designs by illustrator Zachary Lynch.

Open your lips and sing to your pantry or invite St. Brigid into your prayer life.

This book contains the amazing story of a girl who knew no boundaries in her faith of God, it is an enjoyable read-a-loud, and it can be a handy resource for extra rhetoric practice. I pray that St. Brigid’s love and generosity might grow in my family, overflowing like her blessed pantry.

PS1 - For another perspective of this book, see Emma's thoughts.

PS2 - Now I understand why Sophia's family named their farm St. Brigid's Farm - she was a shepherdess in Ireland and is a protector of flocks and herds.

PS3 - Visit Author Jane G. Meyer's website here.

PS4 - I love that this book includes a kontakion to St. Brigid.

1 comment:

  1. I got to review it too! Your review is much more scholarly! Wasn't it delightful?

    Holy St. Brigid, pray to God for us.