Tintin, Bees, and Dance of the Dissident Daughter

Tintin: The Complete CompanionTintin: The Complete Companion by Michael Farr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This delightful and informative volume is obviously a labor of love from a fellow Tintin fan. In his acknowledgments, Farr fondly remembers his mother teaching him to read at the dining room table with Tintin. Little wonder that he grew up to be a Tintinologist and produce this wonderful treatise.

The book is beautifully laid out, and spends several pages reliving and analysing each of the Tintin books, focusing on narrative development, contemporaneous history, and other pertinent influences. I especially loved the many photos reproduced from Herge’s files. He collected photos on any subject that might come in handy in future volumes, which is one of the reasons the comics are so remarkably accurate in their portrayal of everything from a certain make of rifle to a pre-Columbian wooden statue.

I’ve adored Tintin since childhood, and after reading this book, I  appreciate even more the exhaustive artistry and unrelenting creative vision that went in to making Tintin such a classic.

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred FeminineThe Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine by Sue Monk Kidd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book has been recommended to me multiple times, and I finally got around to reading it this Mother’s Day.

It’s definitely a book that needed to be written, and I gave it five stars because I don’t know of another book that addresses this important subject as well as The Dance of the Dissident Daughter (If you do, please tell me, because I would love to read it). Kidd’s description of her awakening to how male-centric her religion was really struck a chord with me. As a Mormon, I found it fascinating that many of the Christian doctrines she cites (such as the maligning of Eve, or the lack of a female divinity) are actually rectified in my own faith. But on a practical level, in spite of our more egalitarian doctrines, the attitudes of many church members toward women (and some of the things I hear from the pulpit) are the same as Kidd describes.

I didn’t connect as much to the second half of the book, where she describes all the interesting things she did to connect with the Sacred Feminine. I don’t really feel a need to do Jungian psychoanalysis or make string mazes through the forest. She also seemed to shift from wanting to connect with God to connecting with the divine within herself. They’re certainly related, but I thought she conflated them, perhaps excessively. Still, many of her suggestions (e.g. meditation, sacred space, making a shift from living vicariously through others) are helpful. Also included in the Notes section is a sort of informal bibliography, which I will definitely be checking out for further reading.

The one bizarre thing is that Kidd appears to assume that every woman’s journey will be virtually identical to hers. She is constantly extrapolating her own experience, even very specific bits of it, and prognosticating that every woman will go through a similar moment. I actually did find myself relating to her experience in many, many particulars, but I can see how someone might find her constant assumption that she is a sort of archetype for “everywoman” annoying.

All in all, an enlightening book, and definitely worth a read if you have any interest at all in the Sacred Feminine.

The Secret Life of BeesThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I checked this one out because I’d just read Dance of the Dissident Daughter, by the same author. While Dance is a memoir and Bees is a novel, I almost felt like I was reading the same book, written in two different forms. A motherless girl in 1960’s South Carolina finds strong female role models, a place to belong, and peace with her past. I really loved the way Kidd wove the theme of bees and beekeeping throughout the book, constantly unfolding lovely new metaphors. A very enjoyable read, with some hidden nuggets of wisdom.

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