I read A Woman’s Choices twice—once with my scholarly eyes looking for every error because I always got better grades on my book reviews in graduate school when I was critical, rather than complimentary, of a book. Then I studied the book with my spiritual eyes, as Somerset Maugham suggests (as quoted by Elaine Shaw Sorensen), “to gain intellectual and moral stimulus.” He explains, “One soon tires of a book that does not make him feel now and then like getting up and walking the floor under the impulse of some larger vision of truth” (19).
Not all the articles satisfied my scholarly and spiritual appetites; only some led me to “some larger vision of truth.” I enjoyed Carolyn Rasmus’s “The Gift and Power of the Holy Ghost” because she told her experiences with Mormonism in a lively style, so it was not just “one more conversion story.” JoAnn Ottley’s “A Musical StewardshipÑTeacher of Life” was a delightful story of how one couple juggled two music careers and a family life. Eileen Gibbons Kump painted a beautiful picture of enjoying life in “The Bread and Milk of Living.” I enjoyed reading Eleanor Knowles’s “The Scriptures: A Personal Odyssey” in which she explained the publication of the new Latter-day Saint scriptures. However, my favorite essay was Sharon L. Staples’s “Stress: A Matter of Choice.” She gave a balanced definition of stress and how to deal with it which got me “walking the floor.” Other than the stress article, I enjoyed the personal essays the most. The authors of these essays explained how they dealt with their situations in life, avoiding a tone of judgment which suggested their decisions were the only ways to accomplish results; they had simply selected one road to travel which had led to both successes and failures.