“Lord,” Beth Moore’s daughter reportedly prayed prior to her mother’s address to a large group, “we don’t want anybody to get the idea that our family is perfect. It’s not. But I thank You, God, that because of You, it’s real. (Feathers From My Nest: A Mother’s Reflections, p. 97)
This daughter’s prayer sums up Beth Moore’s Feathers From My Nest, a skillful weft of reflection, inspiration and homespun homilies. Its 214 pages are divided into 18 chapters that include strolls down memory lane featuring family togetherness, rhetorical reminiscence, and reflections on hearth and home. Themes, both primary, secondary and tertiary, run the gamut from insincerity and hypocrisy to triumph and tears, trust and obey and mercy and memories. All are told with Moore’s trademark wit, passion, and the kind of ebullient effervescence that could charm nine gallons out of a ten-gallon hat.
Introduction and Resonance
The four-page introduction, “Feathers From My Nest,” is a clever take-off on Matthew 10:29, 31. It includes some poignant conversations between “Mr. and Mrs. Sparrow” that will strike a responsive chord with parents of a certain age. Other passages will resonate especially well with moms, such as:
“I wanted so badly to be the perfect mother and raise my children in the perfect home. Not that I had ever had it or seen it. The irony is that as hard as I worked to keep harsh realities out of their lives, my children learned a few right inside our own home. Let’s face it. No family lives a fairy tale.” (p. 96)
The section on car pooling from 127,000 miles a la the “Moore mobile” is hilarious – and will have “been there, done that” readers chuckling down the road, too. Dog lovers will enjoy The Stray Dog – and so will feline fans (it’s not just about a lovable, opportunistic black dog). Speaking of black, the black and white family photos – mostly featuring Moore’s two daughters – which accompany the facing page of each chapter heading add an intimate “three dimensional” family flavor. The final chapter, One Slightly Gray, Well-Seasoned Man is a tribute to Moore’s husband and rounds out these maternal reflections nicely.
Structure and Style
Astute readers may notice that Moore has a tendency to overwrite on occasion, such as in The Index Cards. Here Moore can’t seem to decide which specific target to tackle, so she adopts a shot-gun style and sprays everything with what is perhaps an overlong, somewhat random chapter. In this chapter Moore expands a relatively brief vignette related to Deuteronomy 6:5-7 into twelve pages touching on God’s love, parents as teachers, His name is wonderful, joy, broadening boundaries, and “family altar time.” Some themes are related, some are redundant, and some deserve separate chapters for clarity’s sake. All are laced with Scripture and/or a biblical perspective.
Some readers will find this autobiographical “smorgasborg” tender and endearing; others may find it smarmy and reach for a roll of Rolaids. If you like Beth Moore, you’ll like Feathers. If not, you may want to skip this one.
Reviewed by: Kristine Lowder