Official Review: Centered in Chrisst by Dr. Annette West

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Brendan Donaghy
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Official Review: Centered in Chrisst by Dr. Annette West

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[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Centered in Chrisst" by Dr. Annette West.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Centered In Christ, compiled by Dr. Annette West, is a collection of Christian witness accounts by nine women. At the start, in the ‘How to Use This Book’ section, Dr. West writes: ‘Prior to beginning the book, take the time to pray to the Lord to reveal what He would have you get from this anthology.’ That's a strong indication that the book is aimed primarily at those of the Christian faith.

At just 122 pages, this is not a long read. It consists of eight testimonies, each followed by an affirmation, a prayer, some questions for the reader to ponder, and a space for reflection. Towards the back of the book, there are five poems contributed by one of the women. The final pages are taken up with biographies of each of the individual writers, followed by some further scriptural quotations. The themes of the stories and poems are consistent. They mostly center on the idea of a life incomplete or in difficulty, with true peace and completeness found only in God. Christ is depicted as the refuge of the pilgrim. We are shown Christ as a shelter from the storms of life, Christ as the soul’s anchor, Christ as someone to lean on, and Christ as protection against the battering waves of life.

The book is concise and well structured. I liked the fact that it focuses very much on the personal experiences of the writers rather than on dogma or theology. Everyone enjoys a human-interest story, so this feature of the book may be enough to hold the attention of readers who aren’t particularly religious. The way the stories are written may also keep readers turning the pages. They come in a light, conversational style that draws the reader in. What jumps out from the accounts is the simple and sincere faith of the storytellers. The reality of the difficulties faced by the individual writers is also written convincingly. Christians who like to build some self-reflection into their spiritual reading will enjoy the space given over to this at the end of each chapter.

While the testimonies are honest and raw, there is something of a homogeneity about them that can become a bit stifling. All the writers are women for a start, something which itself points to a common experience. This is reinforced by the thematic similarity of each story. Each describes a life that is tested or incomplete, with true peace only being found in God. Four of the eight testimonies recount stories of marital problems and the trials that these brought to the women and their families, while other subjects are the death or serious illness of a loved one. Each story represents a real-life crisis for the individual concerned, but some of the power to generate empathy and understanding is lost from the testimonies because of their similarity. While I think the book has been professionally edited, I think it would certainly benefit from another session with the editor. As it stands, there are too many grammatical errors and typos dotted about to distract the reader.

I am awarding this book 3 out of 4 stars, deducting one star for the errors. I recommend it to Christians who feel supported by hearing or reading the testimony of those who share their faith. While the book is most certainly aimed at Christians, the focus on the personal experience of the writers may be enough to interest people of other faiths or none.

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Pandora10
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Post by Pandora10 »

The book certainly does appear to be aimed at Christian's or new believer's. Books that focus on an individual's personal experience are enjoyable to read. There are often things that the reader can relate to in some way. One that has too many similarities between each story would become less interesting. It is unfortunate about the grammatical errors in the book. Hopefully, it will be edited again. Thank you for the concise review of this book.
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Post by lumenchristi »

Learning from the first-hand experience of believers will facilitate quick adoption by new believers and also, encourage the other believers to keep on working in the light. I will like to read this book. kudos to the reviewer.
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Post by Precious Naiti »

I love Christian books and any book that brings me closer to God and strengthens my relationship with him is a good read for me. The fact that the book is an account of women just makes it more appealing to me. Great review, thank you.
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Brendan Donaghy
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Post by Brendan Donaghy »

@Pandora10 @lumenchristi @Precious Naiti

Thanks so much for your comments!
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Post by Precious Naiti »

Brendan Donaghy wrote: 09 Apr 2021, 08:18 @Pandora10 @lumenchristi @Precious Naiti

Thanks so much for your comments!
You are @Pandora 21
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Post by cd20 »

This sounds similar to a book I read recently. It is called, "Grace Revealed: Finding God's Strength in Any Crisis" by Fred Sievert. However, this one had stories from men and women, and the stories were not similar, there were many different crises. The author also gave a definition, if you will, about what the crisis was before sharing someone's story, told by the person themselves, and then the author gave some comments on that person and their story. It was pretty interesting, especially if you like this kind of story.
Real life is dreadfully tedious, the way it interrupts reading. -Things We Didn't Say by Amy Lynn Green
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