Keep­ing Place: Re­flec­tions on the Mean­ing of Home

Jen Pol­lock Michel

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Nonfiction -

In­ter­var­sity Press Soft­cover $16 (220pp) 978-0-8308-4490-6

Keep­ing Place of­fers al­ter­na­tive sites within a world that of­ten feels di­vided—places where home re­ally mat­ters.

Jen Pol­lock Michel’s Keep­ing Place: Re­flec­tions on the Mean­ing of Home is a wel­come an­ti­dote to a dis­tress­ing news cy­cle.

The au­thor de­tails her strug­gles with find­ing a home of her own with a fa­mil­iar tone. She de­scribes moving of­ten, the joys of new moth­er­hood, and the ache of seek­ing roots. She ar­gues this is not just a hu­man need, but one that is God-in­spired.

In the con­text of her work, home is un­der­stood as some­thing that all peo­ple aspire to but that can be hard to find in to­day’s world. She writes, “Home is the dry place we are all search­ing for.” Keep­ing Place of­fers in­sight into what that search and strug­gle can look like, es­pe­cially for those who find them­selves in for­eign ter­ri­tory.

The book’s bi­b­li­cal ar­gu­ments are well grounded and thought out, tack­ling some of the Bi­ble’s most ar­guably sex­ist pas­sages—those that are used to con­fine women to their homes and to keep them silent. Pol­lock Michel ar­gues con­vinc­ingly that such verses need to be un­der­stood more in­clu­sively.

Keep­ing Place weaves to­gether a wide range of ma­te­ri­als and sup­ports, draw­ing from his­tory, cul­tural stud­ies, lit­er­a­ture, and the Bi­ble. It dis­cusses cross­ing bor­ders, im­mi­gra­tion, and mo­bil­ity, and con­sid­ers each topic through the au­thor’s per­sonal vi­gnettes and pub­lished re­ports of other in­di­vid­u­als’ sto­ries.

All this the­ory wraps up in the book’s se­cond half, which in­cludes a dash of do-it-your­self to help turn its big ideas into re­al­ity. While the­ory of­ten sounds bet­ter than its it­er­a­tions in lived re­al­ity, Keep­ing Place is cog­nizant of of­fer­ing prac­tices and ideas for truly build­ing a bet­ter home. It con­sid­ers the im­por­tance of neigh­bors, church, love, and mar­riage, among other as­pects.

There is a place for this book in the heart of a world so di­vided along na­tional and in­ter­na­tional

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