Note: This blog is part of Sarah’s summer blog tour. I appreciate Sarah giving me the chance to participate.
The Christian Book industry has changed rather drastically over the past decade or so. It used to be you couldn’t pick up a book in the “Christian Living” section without its author telling you what kind of awful tragedy they had overcome, or what three step process will make your life better. But with the maturation of my generation (X) and the generation right under us, things have changed. We don’t want simple and quick fixes to our problems. We don’t want somebody to tell us how they have overcome a hurt and now they are perfect. We want to know that other people realize that life, and consequently our faith, are so daily. Sarah Cunningham is one of these authors. And her new book,Picking Dandelions is a prime example of someone reaching through the muck and mire of perfect fixes and telling us a story where it does not all work out in the end.
“Dandelions” is a quirky memoir with a serious message. Cunningham believes that through life’s weeds, we are all striving to find a little piece of Eden. Some of us may go through extremes to find it, but at it’s core perhaps Eden is in front of us-even inside us.
Through light hearted dialogue laced with poignant insights, Picking Dandelions walks us along Sarah Cunningham’s road of life as we see experiences that have brought her to a deeper understanding of what Eden may actually be. Some of her memories are perhaps not that profound, such as her memory of her dad telling her about the “watch cow” that protected their small town from “lions, tigers and bears”. Some of her memories are more serious including a great chapter of her experience at ground zero after the attacks of 9/11. Through it all, we see an image of grace emerging that helps Miss Cunningham see that Eden can become clear even in the midst of overwhelming tragedy.
The book is laid out in nine very defined sections chronicling her life from childhood growing up with a pastor for a dad, to teaching school to a bunch of obnoxious high schoolers.The sections are short and can easily be read in a sitting. Each section begins with an attribute of the rather prolific weed known as the dandelion. Cunningham suggests that if we look beyond the obvious traits of a dandelion being a weed, we may find rather extraordinary.
With wit, charm, and an ample supply of grace Sarah Cunningham shows in her memoir that Eden can be found in the strangest and most unlikely places. From the farmlands of Wisconsin to the melted and warped metal of ground zero, Eden can be found. Perhaps if we look hard enough, we be able to find a little Eden inside of us. It isn’t a destination, it is a state of being.
As I said, the Christian book industry is changing drastically. And if Sarah Cunningham’s book is any representation (and I believe it is), it is for the better.
On a side note- Sarah is collecting a list of books for summer reading, these are mine in no particular order.
-Blue Like Jazz/Donald Miller
-To Kill a Mockingbird/Harper Lee
-The Outsiders/S.E. Hinton