Honorable Mentions: Tragedies and mercies
2022 BOOKS OF THE YEAR | Selections on abortion, the sexual revolution, foster care, and psalms for comfort
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Tearing Us Apart
Ryan Anderson and Alexandra DeSanctis
(Regnery Publishing 2022)
Tearing Us Apart offers a thorough look at how abortion “harms everything and solves nothing.” Broken into seven main chapters with titles such as “Abortion Harms the Unborn Child” and “Abortion Harms the Rule of Law,” readers see abortion’s ripple effects across American culture. Written before Roe v. Wade was overturned, the book doesn’t offer many solutions beyond ending legal abortion—but readers fighting that battle in pro-abortion states will find this a treasure trove of anti-abortion arguments, including real-life stories and up-to-date statistics. At its best, Tearing Us Apart frames the abortion debate in terms of moral truths that echo Scripture: “Each of us enters life dependent on our families. … A healthy society doesn’t try to eliminate dependency; it helps people … bear one another’s burdens.”
Strange New World
Carl R. Trueman
In The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, Grove City College professor Carl Trueman offered 400 pages of insightful analysis on the rise of the sexual revolution. Here, he pares that down to 187 pages, making his work more accessible for general readers. That’s not to say it’s light reading. Trueman continues to write like a professor, using such terms as “expressive individualism” to trace the influence of thinkers like Marx and Freud who redefined human identity in the West. Still, Trueman’s insights can uniquely help Christians reject the roots of the sexual identity movement, not just its latest hashtag. Best read alongside the author’s “Life of the Mind” lectures on YouTube. (Reviewed in the May 21, 2022, issue of WORLD)
Tori Hope Petersen
(B&H Books 2022)
This memoir chronicles Petersen’s journey through foster care, a broken system full of broken people. Conceived out of rape, she describes an upbringing full of abusive valleys and hopeful peaks with a mother who “wrapped up anxiety like it was a present to keep me safe.” Written chronologically, each chapter represents a stage of her journey as she moves in and out of foster care. Petersen’s quest for love, acceptance, and security is palpable—as is her disappointment with each failed placement and each rejection. Yet interspersed between the disappointments, glimmers of hope shine through as God draws her to Himself through a series of people who truly care for her. Caution: Fostered includes accounts of violence, abuse, nonexplicit sex, and drug use. (Reviewed in the Nov. 19, 2022, issue of WORLD)
Ryan Whitaker Smith and Dan Wilt
(Brazos Press 2022)
Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms will encourage readers to dig deeper into the Book of Psalms’ first 75 selections. Wisely, Smith and Wilt don’t attempt to replace God’s prayer book. Rather, they complement Scripture with poetic prayers that grew out of their own prayer times. The authors include quotes from eminent Christian writers like C. S. Lewis and references to other parts of the Bible—especially the New Testament, giving the book a Christocentric focus. With Psalm 23 in view, they prompt readers to pray: “Christ, in Your presence I lack no good thing. You are the shepherd of my soul, guiding me to places of rest … tall grass against an azure sky; cooling waters at my side. Lead me, Lord. Further up. Further in.” (Reviewed in the April 23, 2022, issue of WORLD)
Next in this 2022 Books of the Year special issue: “A gospel for all.”