Brief Reviews, VOLUME 6

Karen Beattie – Rock Bottom Blessings [Brief Review]

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0829438424″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”216″ alt=”Karen Beattie” ]The Journey of Life
A Brief Review of

Rock-Bottom Blessings: Discovering God’s Abundance When All Seems Lost
Karen Beattie

Paperback: Loyola, 2013
Buy now:  [ [easyazon-link asin=”0829438424″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]    [ [easyazon-link asin=”B00B1YLY8Q” locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ] 
Reviewed by Leslie Starasta
Except among very close friends, people are often tempted to put on an “everything is going well” facade even when things are not going well at all. Karen Beattie pulls back the curtain and allows readers to enter into her life in her memoir Rock-Bottom Blessings: Discovering God’s Abundance When All Seems Lost. Beattie focuses on her life experiences when she, as the title suggests, hits “rock-bottom” by losing her job and the subsequent effects on her marriage and desire to adopt.

While Beattie begins her narrative describing the day she was laid-off, the book is not written in a linear, event-by-event sequence.  Instead, Rock-Bottom Blessings is written as multiple chapters or vignettes each describing different aspects of her life journey including her faith formation, friendships, marriage, and journey toward parenthood.  Within each vignette, Beattie weaves her past and present experiences showing how her formative experiences shaped her adult life.  In addition, each chapter has some aspect of a “Why me” question, such as when friends are given a sizeable donation to fund their international adoption.  However, each chapter also points to how the events depicted worked together for a blessing.  Another underlying theme throughout the book is Beattie’s journey from her Baptist upbringing to joining the Catholic church as an adult.
Karen Beattie’s tone is conversational causing readers to feel as if they have been invited over for a cup of coffee and are simply sharing their life story.  While brief at a little over 150 pages, Rock-Bottom Blessings can be read quickly but is better read a chapter at a time over several days or weeks.  Savoring each vignette and mulling over the content provides for a much more satisfying reading experience. Although no discussion guide is included, the book could easily be used in a small group setting.  Counselors or therapists may also find the book useful for working with individuals who have encountered life setbacks.

C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith

"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior

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