About the Book
Book: I Love to Tell the Story
Author: Susan Barnett Braun
Is it possible to emerge unscathed from an evangelical upbringing? Yes, as surely as David slew Goliath! I Love to Tell the Story is Susan Barnett Braun’s account of growing up Baptist in a small midwestern town, touching on many cultural icons common to those who came of age in the 1970s. Braun recounts childhood obstacles, which loom as large as the walls of Jericho in her eyes. She encounters a trio of Sunday school mean girls who make King Herod look tame. She worries about being “ugly as sin” due to her chubbiness, glasses, and braces. She’s so consumed with the idea of Jesus’ imminent return that she wonders whether it’s even worthwhile to brush her teeth at night. Humorous, poignant, and ultimately triumphant, I Love to Tell the Story will stay with readers long after the last Vacation Bible School craft stick cross has fallen apart.
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What a kick. Reading this book was like revisiting my own childhood. I remember singing those songs. I remember VBS, the night Nixon resigned, the 8-track tape players, and so much more. This memoir is a trip down memory lane. The writing is not sophisticated and I do wish Braun had included more of her thoughts on her childhood experiences and how they helped shape her into the person she is today. I like the addition of humor. My favorite is Braun remembering when she figured out that euthanasia had nothing to do with children in China.
This is a good memoir for readers who would like to know what it was like growing up in a conservative Christian environment a generation ago.
About the Author
Susan Barnett Braun earned a BS in retail management from Indiana University and an MA in education from the University of Alabama. She taught for eight years in northeast Indiana, earning a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Study Scholarship. Susan has had work published in Parents, Children’s Ministry, and The Secret Place. She also writes online for Fort Wayne Visitor’s Bureau and blogs at Girls in White Dresses. She is married with three wonderful young adult daughters. Susan enjoys reading, playing piano and organ, and spending her time with her family and pets (currently three rabbits and a chinchilla).
Guest Post from Susan
One of the reasons I began blogging, ten years ago now, was to document my childhood memories for my kids. Why? When I was a teacher, before I had kids, I used to tell my students stories from my youth. They loved them and begged for more. Same thing when I had my own kids. I wanted to document these tales, but the problem always came in finding the time and the motivation to actually get around to writing them down. Childhood Memories Friday posts on my blog helped get me moving in the right direction. Eventually, I began thinking I’d like to compile a bunch of the memories into book form. Since many of my most vivid memories revolved around church, I decided that that was the perfect theme. And “I Love to Tell the Story” was born. Each chapter is titled with a hymn that reflects its theme. As I delved into the writing, I had a lot of fun reliving the decidedly memorable life I had led as a youth :). I realized, too, that many aspects of my conservative midwestern upbringing don’t exist anymore in the 21st century. I became nostalgic thinking about the many cultural markers of the 1970s — Lawrence Welk, the Flintstones, — even macrame and latch-hook! Another goal in writing this book was to put out a positive Christian memoir. So many that I read started out fine, but then dissolved into abuse, disillusionment, or even worse. I began to wonder if anyone had grown up in the church and actually enjoyed the experience … surely I wasn’t alone, was I? Treat yourself to a stroll down memory lane. It’s my hope that you’ll enjoy yourself.
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I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.