Everything Happens for a Reason
And Other Lies I've Loved
By: Kate Bowler
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 2/6/2018
My Rating: 5 Stars Biographies & Memoirs
Launch Team Featured Read A divinity professor and young mother with a Stage IV cancer diagnosis explores the pain and joy of living without certainty. Thirty-five-year-old Kate Bowler was a professor at the school of divinity at Duke, and had finally had a baby with her childhood sweetheart after years of trying, when she began to feel jabbing pains in her stomach. She lost thirty pounds, chugged antacid, and visited doctors for three months before she was finally diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. As she navigates the aftermath of her diagnosis, Kate pulls the reader deeply into her life, which is populated with a colorful, often hilarious collection of friends, pastors, parents, and doctors, and shares her laser-sharp reflections on faith, friendship, love, and death. She wonders why suffering makes her feel like a loser and explores the burden of positivity. Trying to relish the time she still has with her son and husband, she realizes she must change her habit of skipping to the end and planning the next move. A historian of the “American prosperity gospel”—the creed of the mega-churches that promises believers a cure for tragedy, if they just want it badly enough—Bowler finds that, in the wake of her diagnosis, she craves these same “outrageous certainties.” She wants to know why it’s so hard to surrender control over that which you have no control. She contends with the terrifying fact that, even for her husband and child, she is not the lynchpin of existence, and that even without her, life will go on.
On the page, Kate Bowler is warm, witty, and ruthless, and, like Paul Kalanithi, one of the talented, courageous few who can articulate the grief she feels as she contemplates her own mortality.
Buy the Book
"With grace, wisdom, and humor...Bowler’s lovely prose and sharp wit capture her struggle to find continued joy after her diagnosis. This poignant look at the unpredictable promises of faith will amaze readers." —Publishers Weekly
“[Bowler] delivers raw emotion, realistic description, and candid assessments . . . An inspiring story of finding faith—in God, in family, and in oneself—while walking close to the Valley of the Shadow of Death.”—Kirkus Reviews
“I fell hard and fast for Kate Bowler. Her writing is naked, elegant, and gripping—she’s like a Christian Joan Didion. I left Kate’s story feeling more present, more grateful, and a hell of a lot less alone. And what else is art for? Everything Happens for a Reason is art in its highest form, and Kate Bowler is a true artist—with the pen, and with her life.”—Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Warrior and president of Together Rising “A meditation on sense-making when there’s no sense to be made, on letting go when we can’t hold on, and on being unafraid even when we’re terrified. And it happens to be hilarious. Above all, though, this is a love letter to life, and it’s gorgeous.”—Lucy Kalanithi, MD, FACP, clinical assistant professor of medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine “This is a beautifully written, intelligent, soulful book, necessary reading for all of us who long to walk faithfully and honestly through the darkest and most desolate of seasons.”—Shauna Niequist, New York Times bestselling author of Present Over Perfect “The Kate Bowler you will come to know in this book is 100 percent real: honest, brave, holy, ridiculous, profane, hilarious, human—her fierce and beautiful words will make you ugly-cry and laugh out loud inappropriately in public places, and they will make you long for the courage to tell the truth about your life.”—Amy K. Butler, senior minister, The Riverside Church
About the Author
My name is Kate and I’m a historian at Duke Divinity School. My wordy title is that I am an assistant professor of the history of Christianity in North America. My book, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel (Oxford University Press, 2013), received widespread media attention as the first history of the movement based on divine promises of health, wealth, and happiness.
I researched and traveled Canada and the United States interviewing megachurch leaders and everyday believers about how they make spiritual meaning of the good or bad in their lives. My work on the prosperity gospel has been featured in the New York Times, The New Republic, The Guardian, TIME Magazine, The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Post, NPR, and the BBC.
Blessed, A History of the American Prosperity Gospel
In 2015, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at age 35. In this New York Times op-ed, I write about the irony of being an expert in health, wealth and happiness while being ill.
Everything Happens for a Reason
My memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason (and other lies I’ve loved) (Random House, 2018), tells the story of my struggle to understand the personal and intellectual dimensions of the American belief that all tragedies are tests of character. Read More