A New Kind of Normal: Hope-Filled Choices When Life Turns Upside Down is the follow-up book to When I Lay My Isaac Down. In this volume, Carol Kent writes more about the shock of living with her son’s incarceration, and how to deal with a horrible situation that isn’t her fault and isn’t going away.
As in the first book, A New Kind of Normal includes compelling stories of other women who have learned to walk faithfully through prolonged trials, and Kent refers to the Bible, especially accounts of Mary, in describing the lessons she learned. At first I questioned the Mary parallels, because unlike Jesus, Kent’s son is in prison for life for very good reason. Upon further reflection though, I thought it was a good reminder that the Bible is applicable to our lives and situations even when it’s not an exact parallel.
At several points I asked myself why I was reading this book – it’s message is similar to the one in the first book, and it seemed like I was reading a lot of raw hurting parent stories (which I understand, but felt voyeuristic reading). In other words, I don’t know that this is a good book for everyone. I think When I Lay My Isaac Down is a better book, and more broadly applicable to people suffering in a wider variety of ways. That’s not to say that A New Kind of Normal is a bad book, rather I’m just having a hard time coming up with a specific sub-set of readers for whom I’d recommend it.
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