New York Times best seller
"A meditation on sense-making when there's no sense to be made, on letting go when we can't hold on, and on being unafraid even when we're terrified." (Lucy Kalanithi)
"Belongs on the shelf alongside other terrific books about this difficult subject, like Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air and Atul Gawande's Being Mortal." (Bill Gates)
Named one of the best books of the year by Real Simple
Kate Bowler is a professor at Duke Divinity School with a modest Christian upbringing, but she specializes in the study of the prosperity gospel, a creed that sees fortune as a blessing from God and misfortune as a mark of God's disapproval. At 35, everything in her life seems to point toward "blessing". She is thriving in her job, married to her high school sweetheart, and loves life with her newborn son.
Then she is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.
The prospect of her own mortality forces Kate to realize that she has been tacitly subscribing to the prosperity gospel, living with the conviction that she can control the shape of her life with "a surge of determination". Even as this type of Christianity celebrates the American can-do spirit, it implies that if you "can't do" and succumb to illness or misfortune, you are a failure. Kate is very sick, and no amount of positive thinking will shrink her tumors. What does it mean to die, she wonders, in a society that insists everything happens for a reason? Kate is stripped of this certainty only to discover that without it, life is hard but beautiful in a way it never has been before.
Frank and funny, dark and wise, Kate Bowler pulls the reader deeply into her life in an account she populates affectionately with a colorful, often hilarious retinue of friends, megachurch preachers, relatives, and doctors. Everything Happens for a Reason tells her story, offering up her irreverent, hard-won observations on dying and the ways it has taught her to live.
Praise for Everything Happens for a Reason:
“I fell hard and fast for Kate Bowler. Her writing is naked, elegant, and gripping - she’s like a Christian Joan Didion. I left Kate’s story feeling more present, more grateful, and a hell of a lot less alone. And what else is art for?” (Glennon Doyle, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Love Warrior and president of Together Rising)
"I fell hard and fast for Kate Bowler. Her writing is naked, elegant, and gripping - she's like a Christian Joan Didion. I left Kate's story feeling more present, more grateful, and a hell of a lot less alone. And what else is art for? Everything Happens for a Reason is art in its highest form, and Kate Bowler is a true artist - with the pen, and with her life." (Glennon Doyle, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Love Warrior and president of Together Rising)
"Bowler's dry humor and raw, personal accounts help make thinking about our common fate bearable." (The Wall Street Journal)
"Bowler's lovely prose and sharp wit capture her struggle to find continued joy after her [stage IV cancer] diagnosis. This poignant look at the unpredictable promises of faith will amaze readers." (Publishers Weekly)