It happened on a Sunday night, even though I had been a good girl and gone to church that morning …” Ruined by Ruth Everhart, Tyndale House Publishers, 2 August 2016 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ruined-Ruth-Everhart/dp/149641392X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=14697

Why do you read a book? To be entertained? To be informed? To have your own beliefs confirmed.. or maybe even challenged? To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have read this book if it hadn’t have been written by someone I have met, know a little and have travelled with a little. So I read this book with curiosity. It is a memoir about a traumatic event, about a rape, about the rape of Ruth. I’ve read memoirs and biographies before, but never of someone I know. I read this book often with my heart pounding, sometimes feeling guilty that I was being voyeuristic, intruding on such a horrific and intimate event and its aftermath.

This book is a compelling read. Ruth knows the power of language – of words that create and construct beliefs and worlds, and of words that are often unspeakable – like ‘rape’. In her writing she evokes all the senses. We see, we hear, we smell, we feel. There is such beautiful and challenging clarity in the details she records – the way that in seeing mug shots of black criminals the height markers behind their faces are ‘forever taking their measure’. In another scene where she and friends are sat in sodden woollen jumpers drying out after being out in a storm, there is ‘.. the brown sugar smell of burning wool.’ We remember the senses experienced in our dreams, which also create and construct worlds and offer new possibilities.

I think this is a visceral book. It is about matter. It is about what matters. Body and spirit matter. Words matter. Theology matters. Beliefs matter. Questions matter. Women and men matter. Ruth matters. Love matters.

And I am glad to have read this book. It matters.