Review: Mary's Diary: The life of Jesus through His mother's eyes by Marilyn Friesen

Title: Mary's Diary: The life of Jesus through His mother's eyes
Author: Marilyn Friesen
Publication Date: January 19th, 2012
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Historical
Pages: 256
Source: PDF from Author


Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
Mary was just one of the carefree young girls who went to the well at dawn to get water. I enjoyed watching her because she seemed unusually sweet and innocent- and sincere. No one knew what to think when she fled so suddenly to Elisabeth's place in Ain Karim. Rumor had it she had seen an angel, but I didn't put too much stock in that. After all, she was young and impressionable. But when she came back obviously pregnant, how the tongues did wag!

I watched her from a distance, all through the years. I heard about the remarkable flight to Egypt with her husband, Joseph, and was glad they chose to return to Nazareth after all was said and done. They had a cute boy; they named him Jesus. A person couldn't help loving him. I could tell she was really wrapped up in her children, especially that boy. I had to scratch my head a few times, though, when he started doing miracles-pretty uncanny, that.

But his preaching, well, that sure had a way of touching the heart. That same heart nearly broke when I saw her grief when her boy was crucified.

You'll read about it through Mary's eyes, through her words and her tears, in this, her diary.

To say that Marilyn has always loved writing may be a slight exaggeration, but not by much. Marilyn started churning out stories on her dad's old typewrite at the age of twelve, and the fascination with writing continues to grow. 

When talking about her writings, Marilyn says, "My goal is to make my writing as realistic as possible, no matter what the setting!"

Marilyn, who is a Mennonite, is mother to nine children and grandmother to four grandchildren. She and her husband, Stephan, have been happily married for over thirty-five years.

        What a beautiful book, and so fitting for Good Friday! This is the first of its kind that I have come across, and I could just feel the perspicacity pour off the pages. Marilyn Friesen conducts us through the journey of Mary's life from the moment she is visited by Gabriel, to the moment of rejoicing after the resurrection. There is no doubt that through reading this book, you will feel the effect if what it may have been like to walk with Jesus through His life here on earth.

Each journal entry has a consistent format that contains a "Dear Diary" and a date. It is clear the Friesen has made ample effort to do her research and not only make things as accurate as she could, but also keep things readable for those who may not understand what 27th Elul means (September 14th). She also includes many keywords accompanied by a glossary in the back to help readers maximize their reading experience. I would advise readers to look over the glossary BEFORE reading the book so they have an idea of what these words are when they stumble upon them, rather than having to flip back and forth, interrupting their reading. 

What I didn't necessarily like about the book are two things: 1) The cover. It is a lovely image, but I feel like the content of this book deserves better. It doesn't make me look at it and think I'm about to read a beautiful recount of history from the heart of the mother of Christ. 2) Consistency in the language. There were times the historical context was jumbled within modern language and it felt just a tad bit inconsistent.

As for content, I truly felt like I was right next to Mary during the years she spent with Jesus. It's so easy to feel so disconnected from that time in history that we look at it more as a "story" or just another event in history. But as today is Good Friday, let us remember that it is this very event that we are here and have hope for salvation. 

This was a perfect book for Easter Weekend. I was left feeling inspired, hopeful, and eminently grateful for the miraculous gift of life and freedom I have in Christ.

From a splendid throne He rules
With power to set men free
From Satan's bonds so cruel
 The resurrected King!"

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