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  • Esther Good

Review: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Updated: Jan 24

Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead is written as the “begets” of the dying Reverend John Ames—a compilation of writings to leave his young son.  He writes about his life (stories of his father and grandfather), and his faith (the sermons he wrote, and sometimes unconventional things he believes), but much of the story centers around his difficult relationship with his best friend’s troubled son, Jack. Robinson subtly questions how we relate to people in our lives who have chosen a different path than us. The writing meanders a bit, so it took some time for me to feel invested in the story, but the various threads came together so powerfully in the end that this definitely ended up being my favorite book of 2015.

Read this if:

  1. You’re interested in reflections about faith and redemption.

  2. You’re a pastor or know and love someone who is.

  3. You want an interesting story about the intersection of slavery, pacifism, and the divergent faiths of different generations.

Favorite Quotes:

“Christianity is a life, not a doctrine . . . I’m not saying never doubt or question. The Lord gave you a mind so that you would make honest use of it. I’m saying you must be sure that the doubts and questions are your own.”

― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“It is a good thing to know what it is to be poor, and a better thing if you can do it in company.”

― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“I think the attempt to defend belief can unsettle it, in fact, because there is always an inadequacy in argument about ultimate things.”

― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“Love is holy because it is like grace–the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.”

― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead



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