Book Title: Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want
Author: Maria Goff
Genre/Audience: Religion/Christian living; adult women (men could certainly read it, but it’s definitely geared toward women)
Worth the read?: No
I purchased “Love Lives Here” last summer at the local Christian bookstore. I was really drawn to the cover design and thought it seemed like a really great read.
I stared at the book for almost 8 months before deciding to give it try. Honestly, I wish I had just left it on the shelf to be pretty.
To be fair, the book wasn’t bad. It was easy to read and I finished it in just a couple days of casual before-bed reading. I highlighted and underlined several quotable lines, and while in the midst of reading, it was enjoyable enough.
The problem was that I just kept waiting for it to go deeper, to dig into liturgies of life and the way that the world pulls us a million different directions. It was like each page was almost there, like Maria had almost captured my attention…but she never fully got there. There were so many missed opportunities; really, the book was a nice idea.
There was certainly wisdom in this book, and I did enjoy her stories when she told them well. But it was almost like she wasn’t the one telling them at all. Rather, it felt like she had relayed the stories to someone else, and they had tried to recreate them without taking careful notes. She never really spoke in specifics; even when talking about her children, it was like there was a fog over her words. Like she wasn’t completely sure what she was writing was actually what had happened.
It was so close to good, but also so far away.
Hazy stories aside (which were bearable, just a little odd), the theology Maria presents is sometimes incredibly sketchy. Maybe a person who isn’t trained in theology wouldn’t notice, but I think that is precisely why it’s a problem.
Several times throughout the book, she mentions something along the lines of “God thinks/behaves/feels this about _______.” Sometimes she makes references similar to “God has a sense of humor,” but other times she actually prescribes attributes and behaviors to God that have no foundation in Scripture or historical Christian thought.
She also refers at least once to a heretical description of the Trinity, called modalism, that was condemned as heresy about 1,700 years ago. Even though she notes that it’s not strong theology, she ignores that it’s actually heretical.
The theology is weak in spots throughout the book, and a time or two I did consider not finishing it. On the plus side, it was a light read; “Love Lives Here” wasn’t a book that shook the foundations of how I viewed the world. Honestly though, a week out from reading it, I can’t say I remember much about its content.
I wish I had liked it more. I’ll keep the book around because it’s really, really pretty, but I can guarantee it’ll probably never be cracked open again.
Better luck on the next book, I hope!