Review of Friend of God
My attention was drawn to this book in a Facebook group. I almost didn’t accept the offer of a review copy, but I am really glad that I did. I read a digital copy on my phone the evening I received it.
Friend of God by Rachel Yarworth has the tagline The miraculous life of an ordinary person. It is a memoir, which emphasises God’s leading and friendship in Rachel’s life from childhood onwards. The chapters are short ending with a sentence about Rachel (or people in general) and continuing ‘BUT God…’
This drew me on to the next chapter every time (although I actually read it in two sittings). There are footnotes explaining terms which may be unfamiliar to a general readership. The writing is good and the book has been edited well.
Many people (especially women) will find that Rachel’s experiences resonate with their own in some way. I found this an encouraging and challenging book.
In these uncertain times Rachel Yarworth’s message that the God of love wants our friendship is a reason to hope.
Interview with Rachel Yarworth
In Friend of God you focus on the way God has influenced the course of your life. There are some aspects of your ministry you only mention in passing. One of these is music. Would you like to tell me and my readers about your musical activities? Are you a singer or an instrumentalist, or both?
I am – or was – a singer (I don’t do much any more, other than on my own at home). When I was younger I flirted with various instruments (e.g. drums, clarinet, piano), but never really stuck with anything for long enough to get good at it, because I preferred just singing; I could do it anywhere, without any extra equipment. I sang in school choirs and informal worship groups, as a backing singer for amateur bands, as an alto in a 4-person chamber choir and eventually as a worship leader in several churches. I’m not keen on singing solo or lead though: I much prefer harmonising with others, especially when it’s spontaneous. There’s something about the blend of voices all singing different but complementary notes, that feels to me like we’re touching Heaven.
On your blog you mention that you are writing more books. What can we look forward to seeing from you? Are you working on one book or do you have more than one work in progress?
Hmm, I’d love to know the answer to that too! I have a variety of works in progress and am itching to get writing again – I’d love to get stuck into any of them – but I’m not sure which one is right for now. I know writing is partly about the discipline: sometimes you just have to sit down and write, even if it turns out to be drivel. But writing Friend of God flowed so naturally (at least the initial draft did, before I started the slog of editing and rewriting), there is a real part of me that is waiting for that kind of divine inspiration again. So I might be completing my children’s novel, my Advent devotional, my study guide on friendship with God, or starting something new. It really depends on where I feel God wants to focus. I get quickly bored of my own work if He’s not in it, but writing with Him is much more interesting.
Did you enjoy writing from an early age?
Yes and no. I was a very early reader – I have always loved words, and read copiously – but it was at secondary school that I really started to enjoy creative writing, especially poetry and the occasional short story. My creative writing tutor at college was very encouraging about the possibility of publication, but after I left college and got married, it just became less of a priority for quite a while. Then when I started home educating my children in my early forties I felt the urge to start blogging about our journey… and I have continued writing in some form or another ever since. I like the Isaac Asimov quote that’s on my website: “writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers”. Writing is how I process my thoughts – a way of pouring my most complex subconscious thoughts onto paper in order to make sense of them. I can’t imagine not writing now.
Who is your ideal reader for Friend of God?
Ooh, there’s a question! Contrary to current writerly wisdom, I never managed to pin down a proper target audience. With God in the book’s title I figured it would generate most interest among Christians, but the whole time I was writing I felt strongly that I didn’t want it to be exclusively for that audience – I wanted non-Christians to be able to access it too, and that’s why I use footnotes to explain terms that will be obvious to most regular church-goers.
As I was writing I did keep a few specific friends in mind (an atheist, a young new-ager, and an older religious church-goer with no concept of God as friend), in the hope that if I could speak to them, anyone would be able to access the book But they weren’t so much an ideal or target reader as just representatives of the kinds of people I wanted to include. And the lovely thing that has happened since publication is that yes, Christians are easily my most prolific customers, and they are a generous bunch, buying copies to give to non-Christian friends who they believe will enjoy it. That has made me really happy, that they believe my book is accessible.
Ultimately I suppose if I did have a target reader, they would be someone – anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or anything else – who is interested in simply getting to know God as a friend. And I hope that my book can encourage them in getting to know Him more.
Thank you, Rachel. I wish you well with your writing.
The paperback edition of Friend of God may be ordered from bookshops, the ISBN is 978-1739257705, or from Amazon where it is also available as a Kindle edition.
Other reviews of Friend of God
Rachel Yarworth’s guest post for Claire Musters
Ruth Leigh’s Q & A with Rachel Yarworth