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Publisher's Summary

A divinity professor and young mother with a Stage IV cancer diagnosis explores the pain and joy of living without certainty.

Thirty-five-year-old Kate Bowler was a professor at the school of divinity at Duke, and had finally had a baby with her childhood sweetheart after years of trying, when she began to feel jabbing pains in her stomach. She lost 30 pounds, chugged antacid, and visited doctors for three months before she was finally diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer.

As she navigates the aftermath of her diagnosis, Kate pulls the listener deeply into her life, which is populated with a colorful, often hilarious collection of friends, pastors, parents, and doctors, and shares her laser-sharp reflections on faith, friendship, love, and death. She wonders why suffering makes her feel like a loser and explores the burden of positivity. Trying to relish the time she still has with her son and husband, she realizes she must change her habit of skipping to the end and planning the next move. A historian of the "American prosperity gospel" - the creed of the mega-churches that promises believers a cure for tragedy, if they just want it badly enough - Bowler finds that, in the wake of her diagnosis, she craves these same "outrageous certainties". She wants to know why it's so hard to surrender control over that which you have no control. She contends with the terrifying fact that, even for her husband and child, she is not the lynchpin of existence, and that even without her, life will go on.

Kate Bowler is warm, witty, and ruthless, and, like Paul Kalanithi, one of the talented, courageous few who can articulate the grief she feels as she contemplates her own mortality.

©2018 Kate Bowler (P)2018 Random House Audio

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Exceptionally human

I have never felt more understood. Kate’s capacity for articulating the human experience in dealing with “life in-between” is exceptional. It was all I could do not to weep the entire time. She has so beautifully captured what it is like to simultaneously need to be weary, while needing to also summon the strength to carry on. I cannot recommend this book enough for anyone dealing with prolonged illness, medical mysteries, dying, not dying, living, not living, or one who loves others who are. Basically everyone.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A plus /smiley face, Kate will understand this....

Would you consider the audio edition of Everything Happens for a Reason to be better than the print version?

Odd question, did not read the book however hearing this book from Kates tender voice is to experience Kate as she is a wife, a mom, a daughter a friend, a person of painful truths.

What other book might you compare Everything Happens for a Reason to and why?

Her book is unique.

Which scene was your favorite?

how can an undesirable life changing event have a favorite moment? these questions are mostly inappropriate for this particular audible book. fine if I had to say , it would be Kate giving herself permission to use curse words promising God she will stop after lent. Good luck with that Kate. seriously WTF.......

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

the whole book was moving. Kates transparency

Any additional comments?

"Aging is a F@#$%!ing privilege".

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Deb Evans
  • Newberg, Oregon United States
  • 02-08-18

Time well spent listening...

Most books on Audible can be listened to at 1.4 speed, but this narrative needed to be listened to at normal speed read by an author who opened her heart about God, others and her experience with the heart wrenching pain of cancer. I laughed at her wit and cried with her as she drew me into her uncertain future. I appreciated her candid look at the ups and downs of life. Sending her the best of wishes!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Life is absurdly hard and pretending it isn’t is exhausting

Kate Bowler’s memoir is gripping, succinct, and well narrated. She invites the listener in with her dynamic and articulate voice. Her voice can and will take you to the brink of tears and laughter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A story for the hurt & healed

I love this book! Kate articulated pain and hope so well. The tension that coexists inside us. Heavy with truth and light love. A fun book and a must read!

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An Author You'll Want to Hold in your Arms

What made the experience of listening to Everything Happens for a Reason the most enjoyable?

The author of Everything.....is also the reader and no one else could have read with the humanity that she does.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Kate is more than a character in her book. She is so well developed that the reader both laughs with her and cries with her.

What does Kate Bowler bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I first heard about the book when Kate Bowler was interviewed on NPR. I loved her at once and knew I wanted to hear her read the book herself. When I checked Audible and found that she was Everything....'s narrator, I bought it immediately and have already listened to it twice!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I finished nearly all of the book the first day I had it. I expect to listen to it often through the years to come.

Any additional comments?

I will be referring to her "Appendix" sections often. The "Never Say" list, ie."Everything happens for a reason," etc. is a must read. Hugs, presents, chocolate, "you are wonderful"s are the things I would like to give Kate Bowler for her brave and amazing book!

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feels like a friend

kate is so honest and raw, so direct yet tender as she shares her story. it was a real gift to hear her story in her own voice. what an incredible gift to have spent this time with her.

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life happens for a while

i have never liked the "everything happens for a reason" response. take off the everything and if one can give a reasonable explanation well fine but best not to go there.

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You'll laugh and cry.

Brutally honest and sincere , Kate Bowler grabs your soul and what you believe and causes you to come to grips with her and your own mortality. Kate is the rare person who could write and read her own devastatingly real story. Thank you Kate Bowler for sharing your incredible life with us. God bless you.

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Sad story...but

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Everyone wants to praise Jesus, but not to meet Him.

Any additional comments?

Me a 20 year ICU nurse. "Why my child, God, take me instead." This common theme (take me instead) is never mention by a Duke Divinity University PH.D. Your child lives to prosper, because God took your life instead of Zak. The wish of every parent.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-19-18

Compelling

Her truth spoken so well for a book she shouldnt have had to write