Does my Soul look Big in this? Does my Soul look Big in this?

Rosemary Lain-Priestley
ISBN 9780281063680 (0281063680)
SPCK, 2012 (128pp)

Category: Christian Life & Discipleship
Subcategory: Women's Studies
Reviewed by: Emma Janes

This book is about facing some of the issues in life that we run into, facing up to them and exploring them to deepen our spirituality, making it relevant and real. My first impressions certainly on looking at the contents page were some fantastic chapter titles, and that certainly drew me in, wanting to know more (full contents list below).

The book really does do what it sets out to do and as soon as you open it you see in the contents page that there are 12 chapters all of which deal with big issues and I felt immediately warm to the book, thinking I knew it would be an interesting read. In some ways, though, I did feel at the end of the chapters that what was needed was some sort of action points to develop each chapter further.

The book was very easy to read and was my holiday reading so I was able to dip in and out of it with ease. It wasn't too heavy going with jargon and read well and what was said made sense to me as the reader. I did think initially that the book was just for women but it would certainly meet the needs and thoughts of men and women alike. It wasn't crammed full of scripture references either which in this book would have been wrong because of the nature of it. There was enough discussion around the Bible though so in all a good balance there. It was good to be able to discuss each chapter with a friend after it, and in reading it felt like a friend chatting with me about all the issues rather than an author.

I had two favourite chapters that really engaged me and these were the chapters that dealt with depression (8) and is what we do what we are? (9). They each covered some good ground and were very thought provoking. I needed to stop, pause and think for a bit especially after these. The author in these was very perceptive about the feelings around depression particularly and drew in some examples from scripture to aid the illustrations she made. 

If you like a gentle, challenging read taking you through some of the issues men and women face in life then I suspect that you would like this book. If you're ready for a gentle nudge in the right direction to face up to some of those big questions then this is perfect for you.

Contents List
1. The John Lewis stages of life
  Do things really have to change?

2. Comfortable in my own skin
  Who I am and what do I want to say?

3. The school playground
  Will I ever be 'in' with the 'in crowd'?

4. Born in the North
  Where on earth is home?

5. This gossamer web
  Can we make sense of the world?

6. Down the stairs backwards
  Does anyone else feel this vulnerable?

7. 'Never fully known, never properly kissed'
  Am I happy enough?

8. The rawness of peeled carrots
  How do we deal with depression?

9. When I grow up I want to be
  Is what we do what we are?

10. Fitting the oxygen mask
  Is there never time to breathe?

11. Losing our religion ... or not
  Can the Church grow my soul?

12. The gift of 'just because'
  Does my life have a point?


Emma Janes, August 2012

Emma Janes is married and a mum to one little girl who is nine years old: "I'm not working at the moment although support my husband as I'm a vicars spouse. I read a lot, knit a lot, and think a lot, I come from a wide and varied spiritual background and so like to read lots of different material."

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