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Book Reviews

A Place Like Any Other: Sabbath Blessings

by Molly Wolf

Molly Wolf offers spirituality from Kemptville, a town just south of Ottawa. Kemptville is a “place like any other,” but Wolf is not a typical thinker and these are no routine thoughts. Here are luminous Canadian spiritual gems, based on images and experiences easily missed, written – we discover – from the location where many of us live as well.

A Place Like Any Other comprises 52 instalments culled from a series of written meditations Wolf posted on the Internet. The book flows through an entire year, assuming a line from the biblical teacher Ecclesiastes: “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Insights germinate, then gestate slowly.

A practising Christian, Wolf honours her biblical and liturgical tradition, yet she is not confined to it. Wolf’s gift is to detect God in the ordinary and to help others do the same. Her discoveries are presented in a winsome, non-dogmatic manner as she sorts things out as though in kitchen table conversation with her readers. A Place Like Any Other bears the author’s dictinct imprint but follows a genre already popularized by Americans Kathleen Norris and Anne Lamott. Readers will locate favourite pieces that lure them to return visits and more extensive contemplation.

“God is a lover who wants me, however little I think He should,” she says. Molly’s deity appears as a persistent suitor while she feels oft-times unworthy. Through writing, Wolf has been reclaiming and responding to life after suffering serious personal setbacks. One senses that these pieces, and the positive reception they’ve already garnered, have done a lot to rebuild her purpose and self-worth, even as she is still sorting out some things.