Inveterate, incurable readaholic, who blogs about books and what's in 'em. If readaholism is a deadly disease, no problem. Couldn't imagine a better way to go.
Review @ www.LitLoversLane.com
This book was a gift a few years ago from my sister. I fell in love with it the first time I read it, and have read it more than once…a very rare occurrence for me. I don’t keep many books, mainly for space reasons. But this re-imagining of the greatest story ever told, which brings the role of women back into Jesus Christ’s story, is one that has never, and probably never will, leave my bookshelf.
Let me begin by saying, if you are a person with no wiggle room in your Christian beliefs and the Bible, this read is not for you. In fact, you may consider it heresy. As for me, I went to Catholic school from kindergarten on, but they pretty much lost me in 3rd grade…the day I was told any baby who died unbaptized would never see the eyes of God.
So, I am very open to reinterpretations, and author Clysta Kinstler has not only re-imagined just who the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene were, but she has stitched the story of Jesus Christ together with the myth of Queen Isis and the loss of her beloved Osiris to create a narrative which is bold, beautiful, and ingenious. As I read, I marveled at how the author intermingled such diverse “tales” into not only a coherent story, but a riveting one I could not put down.
This read also puts an intensely human face on many of the religious figures we know so well –Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, Joseph, Judas, and Jesus Christ himself. We are so used to revering them and seeing them other than as flesh and blood beings born with all the hopes, dreams, troubles and cares as the rest of us that they are almost unapproachable. Kinstler’s work served to remind me that, in the end, they were simply people just like the rest of us, which helps to make me feel closer, rather than simply in awe or removed completely.
Without hitting one over the head or having the story suffer for it, the author incorporates the divine feminine and invigorates the role of women in nascent Christianity, a role all but wiped out by modern churches. As priestesses, Mari Almah and Mari Anath worship the Goddess as Supreme. What I really appreciated about this is the inclusion and acceptance of ideas in the story, for even while worshipping the Goddess, they are Jewish women awaiting the Messiah, seeing no dissonance in the two beliefs, but rather connections.
Kinstler’s weaving of those connections, along with story of Isis and Osiris, is compelling and feels like a blueprint for mankind’s acceptance and validation of not just one belief system, but many.
Finally, lest one think this is simply a boring, tortured, perhaps angry feminist recasting of early Christianity, let me be clear. If simply viewed as a novel, this is a beautifully told story that grabs the reader and holds on till the end. It has a spellbinding plot and enough surprises to keep you entertained, whether or not you subscribe to its female perspective.
Simply put, I cannot recommend it enough.