By Joeaux Robey
Book Review: This Will Be Remembered of Her
Stories of Women Reshaping the World by Megan McKenna
I love books.
I love to read them, sleep with them, work with them, smell them, flip through them… I love books.
I love books for many different reasons and rarely is it because I just love the words on the page. It’s usually more the overall context of the writing that I love. So, I am truly awestruck when I come across an author whose writing engages me word-by-word.
Author Megan McKenna can write! And, she knows excellent writers, too. In her book This Will Be Remembered of Her, she introduced me to several new-to–me authors, like herself, that are true wordsmiths.
For example this one:
Three children on the riverbank. A pair of twins and another, whose mauve corduroy pinafore said Holiday! in a tilting, happy font.
Wet leaves in the trees shimmered like beaten metal. Dense lumps of yellow bamboo dropped into the river as though grieving in advance for what they knew was going to happen. The river itself was dark and quiet, an absence rather than a presence, betraying no sign of how high and strong it really was.
— Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things: A Novel
That’s just “it” about this book by Megan McKenna… it’s a series of short stories highlighting wonderful, humanitarian things that women, the world over, have done, or said, or have beautifully written (as with Arundhati Roy) – – from the time of Christ to today. All kinds of women. Most, in fact maybe even all, of whom you’ve never heard of.
It’s about community and how women, biblical and contemporary, have made life more compelling. McKenna explores the reasons why these women have been remembered… even if you don’t know their names, their stories spread unforgettable wisdom.
I found myself reading these stories aloud to whoever was sitting in the room. Like the story of Yasmin, the perfume maker – who saved the Queen by restoring her memory through the use of fragrance even though it was illegal for women to make perfumes. Because of this she became the heroine of the first story ever written down and told!
Then there was the woman who annointed Jesus’ head just before he was crucified. She used an oil worth nearly a year’s wages and the disciples criticized her for it. Yet, Jesus recognized her for honoring him equal to a High Priest. Anyone who has been through Sunday school has most likely heard this story. Yet, do you know her name?
Her name is Salome and it is only mentioned once in the scripture.
Many of the stories in this book are of Sisters from the Catholic Church or missionaries of various kinds. Some of the stories are folklore. I purchased this book while visiting Assumption Abbey so the book does have a bit of a Catholic bend to it. Getting down on your knees, however, won’t be necessary.
You may find yourself wiping away the accassional tear or the need to stand in ovation. I promise you this: after reading all of these stories you’ll find yourself asking the question “how will I be remembered?”
Hm. Makes me wonder even still… how will I be remembered?