SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

Birthing Hope: Giving Fear to the Light

IVP. May 2018. 224p. notes. ISBN 9780830845330. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780830887019. MEMOIR
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Stone (English, Stony Brook Sch.) worked for several years as a doula in Malawi, a country in which, according to the International Monetary Fund, more than 50 percent of the population live below the poverty line. The experiences of helping economically poor yet spiritually rich women deliver babies is set against Stone's anxieties for herself and her own children. "To bring anything new into the world is to open one's self…to be made vulnerable." With lyrical prose and unsentimental insights, replete with biblical metaphors, clinical talk of birth and death, and a nonspecific Christian orthodoxy that seeks to capture hope, the author recognizes that life itself is a paradox: "I protect, I nourish, but in the very act of giving life I have relinquished control, or better, realized the truth that control is an illusion."
VERDICT A quiet memoir on hope as the most paradoxical of virtues.

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