Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review: Becoming: The Woman God Made You to Be

I was really excited to become a part of The Catholic Company's book reviewer program. First of all, free stuff rocks. Secondly, I need an excuse to read (and having a soft deadline is a good excuse). Third, I love Catholic products! My eyes were very big as I drooled over the list of products to review. I ended up choosing this book for two reasons: 1) Steven told me that  choosing the book about death probably wasn't the best choice for my first review and 2) I felt, from the description, like this book encompasses why I started this blog in the first place. Tammy Evevard's writings did not disappoint!

I really enjoyed the book's layout because it is easy to either read all in one sitting if you have a few hours free, or to just read a chapter or section at a time, put down, and pick it back up again later. For someone who is pretty busy, it means that the book is readable (versus something that bogs you down and ends up getting shelved for months!). There are lots of anecdotal stories and personal reflections mixed in with bible verses, excerpts from the Catechism, research, and quotes from famous or noteworthy Catholics. This format keeps it very interesting and, I think, makes it appealing to a wide audience of women. I found it really refreshing to read something specific to Catholic Christian women! The author, Tammy Evevard, is not only very real, but also has a good sense of humor, which is important to me in this type of book.

I was trying to think of one 'favorite point' of the book, but I have entirely too many to settle on one! The part that really spoke to me is how she addresses feminism from the point of a Catholic woman. She points out that we, as women, play a vitally essential role and we can't let ourselves get caught up in imitating men or we lose our feminism. Society sometimes suggests that we should be like men, do things like men- but where is the femininity in being masculine? I read the section a few times over and it was eye opening to me in the point I'm at in life- deciding whether to give up my career that I got a master's degree for in order to stay home with future children. Society says that I'm 'oppressed' and that a feminist would get educated and be in the working world... why would someone with my education be 'barefoot and in the kitchen'? But if that is the way I choose to live out my feminism, it is no less valid than someone choosing to live theirs out by working in the corporate world (and vice versa of course). Her explanation really solidified that for me. Evervard points out that we are equal to men, but we lose our femininity if we don't recognize that we have different gifts to offer. She uses some great examples from the Bible to drive home her thoughts on feminism and celebrating womanhood, as well as quotes from both John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

She also touches on self confidence, which is something that most women could probably use a little encouragement on! She talks about how the world always tells us that we aren't good enough, that we should change, that we should lose weight, or have whiter teeth, or a better job. She points out how this mindset leaves us unempowered and goes on to explain how we can begin accepting and loving ourselves just how we are. I know that, for me, this is a major work in progress, and her words are very helpful to me along that path.

Perhaps my favorite quote is from page 54 where she writes, "Living your faith means being immersed in faith, finding that your very identity, your purpose, and your dreams are all born out of faith.".She explores that further by delving into prayer and tradition. It was so powerful for me to read about because I have spent most of my life as a "Sunday Catholic" or "Cafeteria Catholic". I have just begun very recently to live this way, or attempt to live this way, and finding concrete ways to do this was really helpful in my spiritual development.

The last part I'll mention is her section on friends. She talks about how important friends are, and that they should share your same values but also challenge us to become better- that it's ok to be different in certain ways because that's how we learn and grow, but we also need support in being the women we are called to be. As I have begun to center my life around God, I have had to re-evaluate my friendships to know which ones support who I am becoming. For the most part, everyone has embraced the changes I've made and these are the people that I know will be around for the long haul; we may be very different, but they accept and encourage me and that's what we need. As I continue to lay down roots in my current city, I will keep her words in the back of my head- that I don't have to find women identical to me, but they should share my basic values so that we can reciprocate support and encouragement.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It obviously had many things that stood out and spoke to me, and was a perfect read for where I'm at in my life and spiritual development. I think that it could be beneficial for any woman to read, but specifically young adults or those who feel like they need some guidance in developing their spirituality and faith.

*This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Becoming: The Woman God Made You to Be. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.


  1. I agree about feminism entirely, in both areas:

    1. Feminism is about the right to CHOICE in how we live our lives. Some feminists can become very defensive when other feminists choose occupations, interests, etc. that many years ago were the ONLY option for women, or the expectation. The whole point of feminism, to me, is our having the right to choose for ourselves the best way to live our lives...encouraging us to put thought into our decisions (with the recognition that we do have many options) and doing what is truest to who we are. That's different for everyone, and no one's choice should be considered less valid, or less feminist.

    2. The different gifts women offer. I have long rebelled against the idea that feminism means being like men...why are they our standard against which we should compare ourselves? Why is it desirable to be more like them? Why are masculine traits (competitiveness, for example) more desirable than feminine traits (cooperation and support, for example)? Many typically feminine traits are absolute treasures that would lead to a more peaceful and loving world...ignoring them by prizing and attempting to emulate masculine traits is doing a disservice to our society. I feel that feminism should stay focused on the EQUALITY of our traits, potential, abilities, and capabilities...that we all (male, female, and anyone in between) bring our own gifts, that can be very similar or very different but are equally as valuable.

    Let it be noted that when I say masculine and feminine, I am not necessarily attributing it to one gender--many men may exhibit more "feminine" traits such as overt emotionality and compassion, and many women may exhibit more "masculine" traits such as aggression and comfort with expressing anger. Still, no matter who has the traits, masculine traits tend to be more valued...women who are more aggressive in the workplace tend to rise and succeed, while men who are more sensitive tend to be berated and mocked. I think we'd all be much better off if we valued what everyone brings and took the best of both worlds into how we treat each other, and even how we run businesses.

  2. Sounds like a book I would love! Thanks for the review.

  3. I really had to read the title about five times when I checked your blog on Saturday because I kept picking up and putting down this book at In His Name on Saturday afternoon. I was in there to get a baby shower gift and just browsed around for awhile. Love the sneak peak!

  4. I love In His Name! I can wander around looking at stuff for so long in there and I love that they are reasonably priced.