The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege by Ken Wytsma

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.
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The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege by Ken Wytsma

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

So. Is privilege in the United States real, or is it something that people imagine, for any number of reasons? Author Ken Wytsma takes a look at this issue in The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege.

In my book reviews, I normally don’t make a big point of the author’s race or gender. Nevertheless, I’ll note that this book, which is directed toward a Christian audience, was written by a white man. And, yes, a lot of people—especially white people—should read it. It’s important to bear in mind that the fight for racial equality in the U.S. isn’t something any one race should be fighting for alone.

I’ll also note that this book isn’t out to just broadcast grievances, to shame the country, and to make people feel guilty. No, this is about seeing the historical roots of a very real problem, as you can’t truly remedy anything without getting to the bottom of it. The author also includes action points, so readers won’t be left with this problem without any idea what to do next.

The book has so many compelling points, like the need not to merely do acts of justice, but to become just. Or the idea that people might think they’re following the golden rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) when really they’re following the silver rule (“Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t have them do to you.”) The silver rule is passive. The golden rule requires action.

I highly recommend this book for the Christian community. If you think racial issues are “just politics” or not something that Christians should be too concerned about, I’d encourage you all the more to read this.

Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Blogging for Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
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Five Gold Stars

Gone

Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

No violin meant more to former child prodigy and then professional soloist Min Kym than the 1696 Stradivarius she found at age twenty-one. When, years later, thieves steal her violin from her, they essentially steal much more than a wooden instrument. Min Kym relates her story of losing her violin and finding her voice in her memoir, Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung.

This author brings not only music but also her instrument itself to life through her words, so that her violin is thoroughly personified on the page. I’ll confess that the extent of it made me uncomfortable at times, as I don’t believe I’ll ever feel so deeply for an object.

But, as a writer and a bibliophile, it’s not like I don’t get it. (I mean, you may not see me when I hug a novel I’m reading or kiss the spine of one of my own books when it’s finally in print, but know that I do get it.)

I won’t pretend that I understood all of the author’s musical language, or that I recognized all of the renowned names she mentioned–some I did, some I didn’t. I also had a little trouble following the logical flow of her thoughts, here and there.

Yet, it’s those intangible but very real somethings she taps into through music, those indescribable places where the soul takes flight… Whether one has the experience through music, literature, or dance, through culinary arts or through connecting with loved ones–even if we haven’t the words to truly do those places justice, the experiences are universal.

This memoir is a journey, one with soaring highs, desolate lows, and crucial discoveries, and it closes on a note of hope that makes the journey all the more worth it.

“We Own This Place.”–An Excerpt from World of the Innocent

From World of the Innocent, a Love Story

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We finished our food, and I thought Marcas was going to take me back home, but he didn’t. “The stars are out, Jhoi. We have to go look at them.” And he took me out to a grassy hill overlooking a big field and a view of the lake further out, where the nighttime lights of a neighboring city were visible across the water. Marcas went to rest flat on his back in the grass, and he advised me to do the same, but I wasn’t used to being on the ground without a blanket or anything, so I sat there with my knees up.

“Lie back, Jhoi. This is nature.”

“Yes, nature is lovely. But that doesn’t mean I want it all over my clothes or in my hair.”

“Your clothes? That’s my jacket you’re wearing.”

“I know. But, still.”

Marcas laughed, linking his fingers behind the hat on his head, and he went on to tell me about the stars and the distant planet we were looking at. I wasn’t sure if he was serious about everything he was saying or if he was merely making some of it up, but it all sounded knowledgeable enough, and it was a pleasure listening to him.

“You’re such a wiggly,” Marcas sighed in the middle of his discourse about the stars. “You worry too much.”

“Do I?” I asked, not moving my eyes from the sky, knowing he was right.

“You’re most Jhoiful when you’re being yourself, you know. Not being afraid. Letting people watch you, listen to your words.”

“My words.” I shook my head. “Yes, I have words, all right. I often wish I had so much more, though.” I turned to look at Marcas then. “Words are words.”

“Yes. They are.” Marcas sat up pretty quickly. “And words are power. Words change minds. Words can dominate. They bolster faith. Inability isn’t always the only reason why we fail to do things. A lot of times, we don’t do what we should because we don’t believe we can anymore.” Marcas reached up to lift his hat a ways, scratching at his head. “Not everyone we watch has to be someone we think must have already ‘arrived’ in every way possible. Sometimes we just need to see someone who still has the faith to tell us that we can get there. We just need someone who believes.”

I stared at Marcas as he stood to his feet, brushing blades of grass from his clothes. “I think our dinner has settled,” he said. “Let’s go for a run.”

“Go for a run?” I looked out at the field. “Now?”

“Of course now. Look around! What time would be better? Come on, Ladybug. This is our world,” Marcas answered, beginning to make his way down the hill. “We own this place.”

Watching Marcas take off through the grass, I thought to remain sitting there and to call after him. Ours? The Bible says the earth is the Lord’s. But I couldn’t ignore the sudden rush of restless vigor that shot through my legs, and before I knew it, I was up and giggling, chasing Marcas down the hill.

It was possible that any one in our audience of stars or distant city lights may have been wondering what these two, laughing adults were doing, running and playing in a field at night.

I’d never seen Marcas run before.

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A tale of love, enduring belief, and the meaning of innocence–based on a true story.
World of the Innocent

World of the Innocent Release Day!

Love, enduring belief, and the meaning of innocence—based on a true story…

“Beautifully written… It’s a novel for anyone who loves.” ~Christian Bookaholic

It’s Release Day!
The Kindle Edition of my literary love story, World of the Innocent, is now available at Amazon.
You can pick up a copy for a special new release price, or read it free with Kindle Unlimited.

World of the Innocent at Amazon

The paperback edition is also available at my eStore, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.