Reviewing this book is a bit difficult because I am pretty bias. I love Colleen Mitchell so very much. She is one of the many people who were rays of God’s love in my life shortly after the suicide of my oldest son while I was at a writing conference at Notre Dame this summer. One of the things that probably seemed like no big deal to her but was to me was the morning she gave me a hug and kissed me on the cheek. The only other person to do that in my life was my Tia Mary who had passed away a month before Anthony. It was a huge moment of Grace.
This book is everything that that moment was for me put into print. Not only did Colleen brighten my days while I was at Notre Dame but so did a handful of the contributors of this book. To me, it is always a huge blessing to know that people practice what they write and these ladies do for sure.
The chapter on self-care is the single most amazing chapter of any book for women that I have ever read. I think that the thoughts and suggestions of that chapter alone could be a book on its own. And it is a chapter that is so needed in Catholic women circles in 2017 American Catholicism where women are marketed to by the secular culture or told that they should be at the bottom of the list in their family on getting their needs met. American women are stressed out and becoming more and more codependent with each generation and being Catholic adds an entire layer of guilt and unhealthy self-sacrifice in the name of “love” to that.
What I confronted more than anything while reading this little book is my own shame. The shame that has haunted me my entire life that is rooted in me being so sure that I am not good enough and that nobody loves me as I am, I have to work for their love. Even then, I just exhaust myself because once people see me, really see me, they see that all of that “work” was just a facade and who I really am is so ugly and unlovable. While that shame has plagued me my entire life it came to an all time high level when Anthony hung himself in our family home. After reading “When We Were Eve”, I am ready to walk into confession today and hand that over to God.
I read a lot of books and I find so many of them to be so good and worth buying, but this book is a must buy for Catholic women. If you know one, gift them with it.
Thank you Colleen for your bravery, your vulnerability and your honesty. You are a gift.