Katie’s Bookshelf – Kitty My Rib

Katie's Book Shelf

Welcome to Katie’s Bookshelf.

Life’s busy, really too busy to waste time on bad books, and The Sisters of Katie Luther is here to help! Feel free to eavesdrop on Sandra Ostapowich, Holly Scheer, and Ellie Corrow, as they use technology available to regularly e-chat about books we’ve chosen to read and discuss together. These reviews are informal, probably slightly snarky, but always informative, and designed to help you determine what is worth your consideration. Pull up a chair, a cup of tea, or something else, if you prefer, and help yourself to our conclusions, as we explore what is on offer.

Our review today is on Kitty My Rib by E. Mall and your hostesses are Ellie Corrow, Sandra Ostapowich, and Holly Scheer. Sit back and join us for a discussion on the good, the bad, and all of the in-between for Kitty My Rib!

First up, all of the good.

Ellie: “The book is easy to read and includes a lot about the value of marriage, vocation and the importance of children. I sense that the book was written with that view of the “woman behind the man.” Katie as Eleanor Roosevelt, the 50s housewife in the 1500s. I like that she points out Katie was a pioneering pastor’s wife. I hadn’t thought of this, but she was really breaking new ground. These days there are other role models, but she was really the first. The Lord provides and Luther is always telling Katie in the book that the Lord will provide and then she finds all sorts of ways to implement that.”

Sandra: “You don’t need a theological degree to appreciate this book. It’s good for a wife to be supportive of her husband and Katie was supportive of Luther. I appreciate how they bear witness to their faith in their conversations. It’s a bit stilted for today, but the older generation still does talk like that sometimes. This book introduced the idea of focusing on a woman in the church. Luther in the book has a lot of trust in God while Katie worried about the home and how to make things happen. Without Katie, Luther would have suffered more from depression and ill health, being less productive for the church.”

Holly: “ I liked that they tried to emphasize that what Luther did he did with her and the family, not in spite of her. There’s good reminders of the reality of how often families lost children and the toll that took on the Luthers– and their faith. The book is light enough to read with children as an introduction to Katie Luther and the Luther family, but you’d want to be able to flesh that out with some more detailed historical and biographical information.”

The bad.

Ellie: “It’s full of anachronisms. One of the things that struck me was her escape from the convent. Suddenly she’s an American, yearning to be “free” but it doesn’t delve into the abuse many nuns suffered in convents. Her listed reasons in the book seemed mostly fixated on clerical abuses instead of theological issues. Women in convents were often mistreated and Luther’s writings would have offered hope. Katie in the book seems to sit idly by while Luther has his theological discussions. She was raised in a convent. I find it hard to believe she had nothing to contribute. I think in many ways the author was making a point about pastors’ wives in her times (the 50s). A pastor’s wife will always be read through the contemporary notion of what what a wife is, but on steroids.”

Sandra: “The nuns needed to escape for theological and practical reasons. I’m willing to grant a lot of artistic license, but there’s a lot I question. For Katie’s pregnancy, having a doctor there and to confirm it was not historically accurate. What’s up with Luther using the silent treatment for discipline? That’s also not likely.”

Holly: “I wish there was more information and time spent making Katie Luther a sympathetic and real person. She’s fascinating, and I was left pretty cold by a lot of it. I noticed the historical inaccuracies, but they’re not a deal breaker for me. I personally prefer character driven stories, especially with such rich characters to draw from.”

The Bottom Line.

The book has some fun insights on the Luthers, and it’s a quick, easy read. There’s no real deep theology, but it’s a good starting point for those interested in knowing more about Katie Luther.

Photo credit: “Bookshelves” licensed under CC


Katie’s Bookshelf – Kitty My Rib — 6 Comments

  1. I love this book. I even took it overseas with me. I reread it ev’ry few years. I see the negatives you mention, but the book makes me want to learn more about her. It’s one of my favorite books.

  2. I think a book review is an excellent idea! I remember reading Kitty My Rib years ago…the church library had it. :)

  3. I finally got this read & enjoyed it thoroughly. I appreciated how Katie was a servant, putting off her own desires to take care of others, especially after Luther had died & the plague hit for the 2nd time. I also liked how they were both portrayed as real people who didn’t always say or do the right thing. The book did leave me wondering what the Luther children did next after Katie passed away never reaching her beloved country home.

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