Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Review: Discovering Mary

I recently had the opportunity to read David Mills' Discovering Mary as part of The Catholic Company's Book Review Program. I was drawn to the book because as a convert to Catholicism, myself, I wanted to see what another convert had to say about the Blessed Mother in his book.

I was actually a bit disappointed once I started to read the book. The preface and the introduction had me convinced that I was in for a good read, but, the good feelings I had about this book apparently were not meant to last. For some reason I found the first two and a half chapters of this book teetering on the very edge of being dreadfully boring. I'm not sure if it was his writing style (Some of his sentences were very oddly structured.) or what I am pretty sure were typos (I found a few sentences that I believe were incomplete thoughts.) but, something about it all was preventing me from getting into the book. In the first three chapters Mills covers the life of Mary, Mary in the Bible and Mary in Catholic Doctrine. It really wasn't until we hit the later portion of the third chapter that the book seemed to come alive.

I found the remainder of the book rather interesting and I began to wonder if I was still reading the same book that had bored me to the point that I fell asleep while reading three evenings in a row. Imagine my shock when I found myself turning the pages and staying awake as I read the remaining three and a half chapters last night. The final three chapters cover the feasts of Mary, Mary's titles and Marian devotions, prayers and apparitions. In all honesty, I don't think I really learned very much about Mary that I didn't already know before reading this book. I will say that the author tossed in tidbits here and there that expounded on certain titles for Mary or other things of that nature, so I won't say that I didn't learn anything from reading this book.

Now it is possible that I didn't get much from this book because the author wrote this book with the assumption that the reader may know little, if anything about Mary. A new convert to Catholicism, a cradle Catholic who has lived under a rock his entire life (I'll offer my husband as an example here.) or a Protestant who is simply curious about those crazy Catholics and their obsession with Mary could all pick this book up and learn something about Mary that they likely didn't know before. Given that this book is essentially an introduction to Mary and is intended for an audience where some may have vast amounts of knowledge about Mary while other's have little to none, I feel the author has covered all the bases adequately. I still feel that the first two and a half chapters were rather boring and probably could have been written in a more engaging manner, but I really did enjoy the second half of the book which was a fast and engaging read.

If you'd like to find more information on Discovering Mary, visit The Catholic Company. As part of The Catholic Company Book Review Program, I was supplied with a free copy of this book in exchange for this review.

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