When I read the introduction of Firstlight, Sue Monk Kidd’s new book, I was disappointed. I neglected to read the flap in the bookstore. After all, this was Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees, one of my all time favorite novels. I learned as I read that this book was a collection of inspirational writings from her early career, and these writings had been previously published in Guidepost, a magazine I related to my grandmother because the newest copy could always be found on her coffee table on any given visit. I almost closed the book without reading another word; this just wasn’t my kind of book. But my eye caught the explanation for the book’s title, _Firstlight _(all one word), a word she used to describe the light that comes just before dawn. I had to give the book a chance.
I did not make a mistake. This little book of early personal essays allows the reader to glimpse the foundation on which the author wrote her bestselling novels, which are acclaimed for both their simplicity and intricate details. The writings in _Fristlight _tell the story of Sue Monk Kidd in bits and pieces. In one story, we learn her husband loses his ability to speak clearly from a complication during throat surgery. The author tells the readers, in her early thirties, after reading Thomas Merton’s “The Seven Storey Mountain,” she knew she wanted to be a writer. Sue Monk Kidd takes us back to a front porch in the old south as fireflies dot the sky and folks just watch in no hurry. We are among the attendees at her grandmother’s funeral on a warm spring day in South Georgia. We struggle with her as she deals with the trials of being a mother and a writer in the seventies.
This book gives a positive take on life, and it lends the reader a sense of hope in times that dwell in the negative.