Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Good and Perfect Gift: Review by Meriah Nichols

This is why I like Amy Julia Becker: she takes a complimentary comment ("What a perfect family") - holds it up to a biblical lens "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect", reflects on it then whips out her Greek dictionary (she has a Greek dictionary!!! who has a Greek dictionary?!!) and discovers the root of the word, perfect: telos. Translated, it can be as she discovers, "perfect" or it can be "wholeness, completion, the end for which you are created."

A Good and Perfect Gift. A gift of wholeness, of completion, the gift of her daughter, Penelope, who was gifted with an extra chromosome.

Amy Julia is an honest examiner with a clean poetic bent. She infuses the house of her Faith with huge blasts of spiritual air, gulps of (sometimes painful) self-reflection and a relentless pursuit for truth. Finding the core of the matter.

I cried when I read parts of her book. I don't want to be a spoiler yet I want to talk about the things that she wrote of that had me up all night. Like wrapping her mind over and around the term "mental retardation" - and what that meant - or didn't mean. Or disability. Or Jesus' call to "follow me where you do not want to go" - and what that would mean. how I still well up reading certain lines like that "this delightful daughter of mine was going to endure a list of things that I wold never choose for her." Big, huge tears rolled with that one...

I loved the frank and fearless way Amy Julia recounted her feelings regarding the "encouraging" things people said she could look forward to with a child with Down syndrome ( like, um...that they could take the bus to work alone or be a dishwasher - YAY!) and led us through to what really brought her a measure of comfort - stories of people with Down syndrome who might teach her to "slow down, to love deeply, to compete less, to live more fully - these are the stories that bring hope."

She scrutinizes that same hope. Fear. Investigates the "soft bigotry of low expectation." Mulls over concepts of beauty and our culture. Faith. Amy Julia is an analyzer and let me tell you: she takes the scalpel and dissects faith. She is a hard-thinking Christian, the kind that I (not being Christian), most thoroughly enjoy.

This book will is a must for all Christians - but perhaps a trifle obviously, I don't believe you need to be Christian to appreciate it or enjoy the story of her journey to acceptance and more, appreciation for her daughter.

Meriah Nichols
With a Little Moxie


  1. How did I miss all of these reviews on "A Good And Perfect Gift"? I am reading it right now and plan to review it. But really, how did I miss it up until now?!

  2. This book should have all the press and attention that Bloom is getting. Well written, honest, beautiful and painful. My husband and I had almost the exact same conversations, regarding our faith, God's sovereignty and what did we really believe now?

    Great review Meriah.