Description from Goodreads:
Moses never saw the Promised Land. King David didn’t get to build the Temple. Jesus preached an unpopular message and died on the cross. Reverend Ruth Broggan thinks God has something to answer for. Unsatisfied with traditional teachings, Broggan takes a radical approach to finding the meaning of life.
by Anne Hines
The rating of this book will depend on the perspective of the reader. Spiritual perspective. Open minded perspective. Humourous perspective. Faith tradition perspective. Family life perspective. Realizing that all of these perspectives follow us, and impact the way we live, and the way we review, I believe they are particularly important when reading and reviewing this book.
The book is comprised of letters, diary entries, log books, formal announcements, journal entries, and phone messages. The dates on all of these are concentrated between 2003 – 2005, and are not sequential. If jumping through the years, locations, and characters, is not your style, you may want to pass on “The Spiral Garden”.
The main character is Ruth Broggan, a Minister of the Unified Church, and takes place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Ruth is divorced, has two children, two best friends, and an unusual perspective of faith. This faith perspective has developed in Ruth over her years as a cleric. Ruth is fired from a church in Markham, Ontario for preaching outside of the church’s teachings, and tries to settle into her new location, while still speaking and preaching a message that conflicts with the church.
Ruth’s struggle is our struggle – why are we here? what comes after? and why does the world suffer pain and tragedy? Ruth has asked God to speak to her, with answers to these questions, and locks herself into the manse in order to wait in silence for God’s reply.
What ensues outside the manse is a growing following of Ruth, culminating in half a million people heading to downtown Toronto, to wait for Ruth to come out of the manse, and celebrate a Church Feast of The Winter Solstice.
Ruth’s take on life is serious, funny, thoughtful, prayerful, witty, and very engaging for the reader. I found that the author, Anne Hines, skillfully pulls the reader into Ruth’s life, and at times I found myself so identifying with Ruth, her writings felt like my own. This is the type of book that I will pick up again, and again, reading only pages here and there – the ones that made me cry, and the ones that made me laugh out loud!
If you want to be entertained, and learn something at the same time, this book is for you. If you are open minded about religion, this book is for you. However, if you are easily offended by slights against any faith tradition, and especially your own, then this book would not be for you.
I was given this book free from a second hand bookstore, but after reading it, I would definitely pay full price!
All in all, I would recommend this book for its humour and for its life lessons.
Take a look for “The Spiral Garden”, and Enjoy!!