All God's Critters Got A Place in the Choir
Emma Lou Thayne, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Jana Bouck Remy
Aspen Books , 1995. Hardcover:
Suggested retail price: $14.95 (US)
Audience: LDS Women
Poetry, Personal Essays, and Dialogues(Approx. 65% are reprints from other publications)
I wholeheartedly enjoyed reading this book and I feel that most LDS women will also. It is not a heavy doctrinal treatise or a how-to type book, but rather a collection of reflections of life as an LDS woman.
The book is divided into six sections of widely varied themes. For example, "Progenitors and Pancakes" includes seven works about families and "Inner Music" contains six essays and one poem about personal identity.
The individual essays and poems have a wide variety of topics such as recipes, jet lag, visiting teaching, and snoring. I particularly enjoyed Thayne's essay "On the Side of Life" which discusses abortion. She contrasts the joy of her children's and grandchildren's births with the realities of drug-addicted and abused babies that are often sold into the business of child pornography. She resolves her essay with the statement, "Where do I stand on abortion? On the side of life. For the mother and the child. Not bewildered by deciding exactly where I stand except in reverencing both the life and the agency that the Lord gives us to decide anything at all."
As a fellow quilter, I loved Ulrich's essay "Patchwork" which discusses her mania for old things, and explains the way in which she collected the bits and pieces of her education as she raised her family. She recalls that it took her five years to complete a one-year M.A., and nine to finish her Ph.D!
An interesting feature of this collection are four "dialogues by fax" which are actual off-the-cuff faxed conversations between the two authors. At first I thought that the inclusion of these conversations was somewhat strange, but as I read each of them, I was delighted with their spontaneity. Ulrich and Thayne discuss weather, children, writing and more without the formal strictures of an essay or poem. Thayne writes, "I love conversing with you this way about whatever moves or amuses, chafes, or captivates us." These dialogues contribute a great deal to the warm and personal tone of this book.
The title of this collection is drawn from a children's song:
All God's critters got a place in the choir -- Some sing low, some sing higher, Some sing out loud on the telephone wire, And some just clap their hands, Or paws Or anything they got.
The authors decide to see "what our singing in distant choirs sounds like on a common branch." The result is a cohesive and entertaining collection that all in the "choir" will enjoy.
--Jana Bouck Remy email@example.com
© 1995 Jana Bouck Remy