Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved


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 thirty 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 reader 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.

On the page, 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.

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Title:Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved
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    Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved Reviews

  • Rebecca Foster

    This was the 2018 title I was most looking forward to reading, and it didn’t disappoint. I devoured it in one day. It combines two of my niche interests: medical (especially cancer) memoirs, and the...

  • Julie Ehlers

    Sorry to have to say this, but Everything Happens for a Reason is a mess. This short book is a memoir of Kate Bowler's Stage IV colon cancer and how her diagnosis flies in the face of the "prosperity ...

  • Canadian Reader

    Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved is a propulsive memoir about a young woman’s sudden, dramatic diagnosis of stage-four cancer after months, possibly years (the timeline...

  • Davita

    I started this book in the waiting room at the dentist, which was a mistake, in part because I’m always about to cry at the dentist and also because the dentist does not deserve to witness my deep w...

  • Suzy

    I was drawn to this book because I've noticed that there seems to be a widespread belief that we are completely in control of our destinies. Think of all the articles and books that tell us what to ea...

  • Michael

    Prior to reading this book, it was recommended to me by one of my good friends. We were discussing how we love to believe all the cliches such as: "Everything happens for a reason." Needless to say, I...

  • Samantha Price

    I feel like I get to be honest here. I don’t have to feel bad for this woman (although, I do), but I do feel like I can judge in a more non-biased view given my own Stage IV diagnosis. Every cancer ...

  • Riva Sciuto

    At thirty-five years old, Kate Bowler returns home from the doctor one day with a Stage IV cancer diagnosis. This disrupts her entire universe, forcing her reevaluate her longstanding belief that God ...

  • Lisa Lewton

    Kate Bowler is a delightful human being. Very real, honest, and insightful about the stupid things people say to those who suffer. The appendix is the best part with very practical suggestions about w...

  • Victoria

    I received an ARC from the publisher for review. This book was a bit heart-wrenching, the story of Kate Bowler's cancer diagnosis and grappling with her own mortality. I have to rate it a little lower...