#45: When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakeable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances by Carol Kent. I read this book as a result of a review in the Christianity Books and Culture newsletter. Kent was a Christian (Protestant) motivational speaker with everything going her way. In fact, her book starts out with her retelling of a walk on the beach with her husband, that ended with her saying, "Can life get any better than this?"
Within two weeks, they received one of those dreaded night time phone calls. You know, the call that means that something is really wrong. For them it was not a death, but the news that their only son--Mr. Everything and a graduate of the Naval Academy, a new husband and stepfather--was in custody in Orlando Florida, with charges of first degree murder being filed against him.
Mrs. Kent traces their story from this sad beginning throughout the trial (30 months later), sentencing and imprisonment of her son. Along the way she had to make the decision: turn away from God in the face of unspeakable pain or run to him, even though full of grief, anger and pain.
She relates everything to the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham--and having to be willing to lay our Isaacs down--whether our Isaacs are our children or our plans or our hopes or our health or our lives.
It's a book I'm glad I read.
#46: "Are You There Alone?": The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates by Suzanne O'Malley.
I suppose every mother wonders what happens in the mind of another mother who goes over the edge and murders her own children. O'Malley covered the trial and wrote for O magazine and Newsweek. This is her take on the whole thing from phone call to the police to the incarceration of Andrea Yates.
I found it surprisingly even handed in its treatment of the whole thing, especially of the husband, Rusty Yates. Around here there was a lot of animus against him, and I expected (largely because of her work for O magazine) that O'Malley would be on the anti-male bandwagon that I find so prevalent in women's magazines. In this book, however, he comes across as a man who did the best he knew how. Who loved his wife and children. And who was absolutely blind-sided by the amount of criticism he took by people who didn't have the faintest idea about who he was or what type of relationship he and his wife had.
Andrea Yates was convicted of murder, and sentenced to life in prison.