For some time now I've struggled to find an intriguing political angle for this book, The Divine Daughter. When people ask the inevitable question, "What's this book all about?" and I want to say, "Well, not politics!"
I find that people often want to hear something about -isms - is it about feminism, or progressivism, or antidisestablishmentarianism...Their question seems to really mean something like "What's your political agenda?"
And over time I found ways to start that kind of conversation with people. But that's not really the conversation that we need right now. Politics, political theory, economic policy, legalism, whatever. We need something much deeper.
A little while ago, a friend through social media told me she had picked up the book. So, I followed up with her to see what she thought of it. Almost immediately, she seemed to catch on that the tone I was setting in the book had nothing to do with championing this -ism or crushing that -ism.
But just as important, she appreciated that tone, that sense of deeper exploration and inquiry.
It was as if she gave me permission to drop the politics and get back to the roots of why the word daughter flickered for me like a tempting spiritual invitation. I asked her if I could quote her for a review. She said I could quote away!
This book was so interesting and refreshing because it didn't devolve into intent-focused content. It feel like the ideal of traditional intellectualism, what intellectualism used to strive for.
The tone is awesome.
What a breath of fresh air, to be able to just read without having to remove the author from the content. It helps that Gilchrist is so forthright with each an every single source. Being able to follow the thread of ideas without the author dictating the trajectory is beautiful.
Now, of course I'm obviously there, on every page. Open the book to any page and you will likely get a sense of where I am on whatever political divide one might use for cutting.
But at least according to Anne, you don't have to remove the author because he isn't telling you what to think. He's trying to have a conversation with all these interwoven threads of psychology, philosophy, narrative, and communication... not politics.
How often do you read someone who is earnestly aiming at understanding each source rather than judging them, or for that matter, changing you?