Everything Happens for a Reason by Kate Bowler

Everything Happens for a Reason

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 diagnos...

Details Everything Happens for a Reason

TitleEverything Happens for a Reason
Release DateFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherRandom House
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Religion

Reviews Everything Happens for a Reason

  • 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 prosperity gospel, a dubious theology I grew up with in the Pentecostal church my parents still attend in America. Indeed, Bowler’s previous book is a history of the prosperity gospel in America. Though she grew up surrounded by the Canadian Menno...
  • 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 is fuzzy), of inexplicable symptoms and innumerable, pointless appointments with medical specialists. Some might frame a personal narrative like Bowler’s in terms of the uncertainty of medical science, reflecting on the imperfection and limitations...
  • 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 wonder. So I did what any reasonable person should and finished this book at home in bed on a slow morning. And gosh. I’m glad my roommates weren’t home because I oscillated between an ugly cry and a full belly laugh in the course of like three pa...
  • 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 memoir or article that is published is going to influence people’s view about our illness, mortality, etc. Here’s the thing - none of us can know what’s to come and religion won’t tell us the truth. To me, she explored (and over shared) her r...
  • Heather Fineisen
    You know you connect with an author when you finish reading their work and immediately look for more. I just ordered Blessed, Bowler' s book on prosperity religion. Everything Happens for a Reason references Blessed but focuses on the Author's cancer diagnosis and treatment. Many good tips on how to support someone with terminal illness. An interesting look at the big questions grappled with during debilitating times.Copy provided by the Publishe...
  • Ginny Tincher
    Please read this. It will wreck you in a good way.
  • 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 because the narrative style was jarring to me - Bowler skipped around so much that I kept having to reread parts of the story because all of a sudden we were in a different tense, or timeline. Some good lessons in here, and be warned, there's lots o...
  • Cherie Lowe
    This book should be required reading for anyone who will die or knows someone who will die. Hint: that's all of us. Kate Bowler reminds us of the thin thread of mortality, struggling through the doubts and questions any person of faith considers when contemplating the meaning of life and the purpose (if any) of suffering. While weighty in concept, this book holds in tandem a bright optimism grounded with a gritty reality. A horror story collides ...
  • Kimberly Zimmerman
    I just finished reading Kate Bowler's Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved, a memoir of her life before and with incurable Stage IV colon cancer. If you're like me and tend to shy away from books about terminal illness, you might think it will be a dark, depressing, hopeless tale that will leave you in tears and in a blue mood for a week.This book isn't like that. Kate is smart, funny, and endearingly honest with how she fac...
  • Alex Stroshine
    Kate Bowler's memoir recounts how just as she was experiencing the joys of her work and newborn son she was stricken with terminal cancer. An expert on the American prosperity gospel, Bowler weaves her story through with meditations on marriage, motherhood, family, faith, and fate. She is bluntly honest at points and cries out in desperation as she asks God to let her live. A very moving memoir from a spunky believer.
  • Fr. Ted
    Having survived lung cancer, a lobectomy, chemotherapy and an experimental chemo study, this book sounded interesting to me. I heard the author interviewed and thought I would read it. I would say her life and personality are quite different from mine - the author is a woman and extroverted so she sees everything from that point of view. The best part of the book was her own description of dealing with people endlessly aiming to be helpful. I cou...
  • Rhonda Lomazow
    Kate Bowler has written a beautiful honest open memoir about her stage 4 cancer diagnosis.She shares with us her feelings shock heartache.Kate the mother of a young child happily married surrounded with the love of family-and friends shares with us her journeythe experimental program she enters..Kates amazing spirit soars through this book a memoir that will make you treasure life more.As of this writing Kate is alive well teaching at Duke univer...
  • Kathy
    I received a digital ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.This is a slight book that is somewhat disorganized; at times Bowler's narrative jumps around in time and topic and feels unfocused. However, Bowler's wit and moments of sarcasm, as well as her interesting view on religious philosophy make it an interesting read.
  • Kayo
    What a book. This book really makes you think. Like to know how author and family are doing. Great work!Thank you to author, publisher and Netgalley for the chance to review. While I received the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
  • Elizabeth Pinborough
    To write a book like this is a brave endeavor. No one likes to be seen in their weakest moments or to share their saddest, scariest inner musings. Kate Bowler, however, has written a memoir of pain and mortality in brilliant fashion. While seeing death through the window of Stage IV cancer, she poignantly reminds us that we're all on borrowed time. For those who live in tragedy, the most compassionate approach we can have is to be present and not...
  • Ben
    I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Kate Bowler has stage IV cancer. And (at least in the place she's at in the start of the book) she's expanding her dissertation on the history of the Prosperity Gospel in America into a book (that book, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, is now on my to-read list, because I find that sort of thing _fascinating_ and destructive and want to kn...
  • Liz Martin
    A portion of this book was striking in its special way of describing mundane aspects of life and how meaningful they are when you’ve got a terminal illness. However, its narrative style was absolutely jarring and so hard to follow. Also, I felt that a huge portion of the book was not relatable because of the author’s privileged background and narrow sample of demographics. I was hoping for a bit more reflection or insight on the topic of pros...
  • Allison
    4.5 starsI’ve been following Kate Bowler’s story for a few years at the recommendation of a mutual friend. She is poignant, truth-telling and wicked smart. And now she is a NY times best-selling author and is speaking all over the nation. And what a story she has to share.
  • Yanira
    Kate Bowler writes about her incurable cancer diagnosis, her little boy and her husband in such a beautiful and honest way. More importantly, she writes about the ways in which we want to believe in certainty. The ways in which we use religion to believe that God is the man with a plan. But, is that true? Could you believe in God and still believe that there is no plan? Amazing work that she has done and I loved it.
  • Melanie Springer Mock
    One of the best memoirs I've read in a very, very long time. Challenging, thoughtful, funny, sad: Kate Bowler's story is powerful, but/and her reflection on mortality, tragedy, and the powerful love of community has been transformative for me and my own thoughts about life and death.
  • Kathleen Gray
    If you're concerned that there will be too much religion in this for you- don't be. Faith is an important component in this memoir but it's a thread or theme, not a brickbat. Bowler is a fascinating woman. She's a scholar of a subject I know nothing about, she's a mom, and she's living with a terrible cancer. I learned a lot from this beautifully written and thoughtful book, not least of which was what not to say to someone in her position. There...
  • Jeanette Harding
    This came from a good ready giveaway and I read it so quickly. I especially liked the section in the back that gave advice about what to say and what not to say to someone facing a life crisis. So perfect.
  • Joanne
    Thank you Kate for sharing your truth. Though my breast cancer journey was 8yrs ago I identified with you and your journey. Your words made me nod in agreement, cry, giggle, shout, and laugh. The book's complete /full title is the best title hook I've encountered in a long time.People not touched by cancer or other illnesses would benefit by reading your truth. The Appendix 1 & 2 is a great guide for the general public in knowing what to say or h...
  • Megan
    Kate Bowler has written an engaging, poignant memoir on her life as a young mom with cancer. She also has the distinct background of being a prosperity gospel scholar and professor at Duke Divinity School. It's a short read, and once I got started couldn't put it down. I think the appendices alone are worth getting this book - they include things to NEVER say to people experiencing terrible times, along with her gut responses to these remarks, as...
  • Molly Smith
    Won on giveaway, thanks goodreads! This book made me think a lot: about life and death and being grateful. I did cry once and almost cried numerous other times. The only thing keeping it from 5 stars were some religious references I didn’t get, including tons of prosperity gospel stuff, but more so the abrupt ending. But simple googling has made me hopeful that Kate keeps on trucking and so I send her my hope and prayers.
  • Roger
    The title should provoke you. In fact, it is INTENDED to provoke you into thinking what you say to people who are facing death. Kate Bowler speaks from deep experience as she is facing Stage IV cancer, with her studies on the Prosperity Gospel providing the setting. Why (she asks) is she facing death (now, thankfully, postponed a while)? Her 'friends' (remember the book of Job) give her all the usual excuses (which they believe are reasons), like...
  • Kathy
    In "Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved" Kate Bowler bravely shares what her life was like after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She is open, honest, questioning, angry, searching for meaning as she seeks to deal with what most of us hope to never have to face. She tries to rationalize her cancer according to the theological mode of the prosperity church which she has spent much time researching for her doctorate. T...
  • Merry Miller moon
    Thank you to Goodreads and Random House for the free ARC of this book. ***POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*** 'Don't Skip to the End' Kate Bowler is a thirty something who is happily married to her high school love when she starts to feel ill. She is the proud mother of a toddler and teaches religion at Duke school of divinity. After many doctor visits, she is finally told that she has stage four colon cancer. OMG! How does a person deal with this news? I...
  • Rosemary
    Every pastor should read this book, yes, but every person should read it, especially if you will die or know someone who will (i.e., all of us). I read it in a couple of hours after hearing the author on Fresh Air with Terry Gross (NPR). What struck me in the interview most was how much Kate LAUGHED, given that she has a terminal cancer that is staved off 2 months at a time by immunotherapy treatments, after a grueling course of chemo. She does n...