Skip to main content

The Exact Place


The Exact Place: A Memoir by Margie L. Haack

Deep in the woods of northwestern Minnesota where the temperatures drop easily below freezing and the neighbors drop in at any time, Margie L. Haack tells the story of her life growing up with five siblings, a mother and a stepfather.  The portrait she weaves is both intimately personal and public, brimming with details of her search for her stepfather’s love and the daily grind of life on a farm.  Margie’s writing shines forth with an amazing clarity on account of her willingness to bring the reader to experience what she has experienced and to step back with a perceptive glance at the details of her own life.

One of my absolute favorite parts of the book was Margie’s description of her early love for reading.  Although Margie wasn’t led early on in reading by her family, her passion for books came to the surface very early on in life.  She describes it by writing, “Words began to light up in spellbinding stories…..Books exploded into talking horses, trolls living under bridges, and the poetic order of “twelve little girls in two straight lines” who “left the house at half-past nine” (153).  Starting from a lower reading level and quickly moving up to the top, Margie devoured anything that came her way.  This part of the book was akin to my own experience with books, the sense that they opened up new worlds, new ideas, and new thoughts that wouldn’t let go from your mind. 

Early on the book, Margie writes, “By the time I was nine, I had five brothers and sisters and Dad had distilled laws for children into one basic rule: “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.”  In other words, obey me. ..I was always vigilant trying to discern unspoken rules conveyed by a look or a sudden movement of his hand” (12).  The ever winding road of obedience to an authority figure was cast for Margie at an early age.  Yet, there was a never ending quest for seeking to please her dad, wanting that ‘Good girl’ encouragement, that tender Fatherly care to come out of her relationship with her dad.  The beauty of this memoir is that Margie in passages like this one draws out the internal self-conversation that takes place with an amazing sensitivity to her own heart and motives.   In seeking to please Wally with her chores and activities around the farm, Margie began to ask similar questions of God.  “God must, I thought, need to be won by the same sort of hard work and allurement my human father apparently required.  And yet, what would God need that I could give?” (180).  Yet, as she indicates, the memorizing of certain passages of Scripture lead her to a fuller understanding of God as Father and his care for her.

Margie brought to life the experiences and details of life on a farm, from the colors of the forest to the stupidity of the sheep.    I couldn’t put this book down, it was much like a character in a good novel that you can’t tear yourself away from.  Rather than paint over the painful and difficult moments of life, Margie takes the reader to those moments and brings them face to face with their own world.

Much thanks to Kalos Press, an imprint of Doulos Resources for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…