Full of Books

The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew–Three Women Search for Understanding by Suzanne Oliver Review

Title: The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew–Three Women Search for Understanding

Author: Suzanne Oliver

First published January 1, 2006

320 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780743290470 (ISBN10: 074329047X)

Rating: 3.77


Come join “The Faith Club,” a memoir that explores the spiritual reflections of three mothers from different faiths. Ranya Idliby, a Muslim of Palestinian descent, reached out to a Christian and a Jew to answer her children’s questions about religion after September 11th.

However, their differences and misunderstandings almost led to the collapse of their project. Through hours of honest discussions about their concerns, stereotypes, and misunderstandings, the women were able to grow close enough to explore what united them.

In this memoir, readers will witness the blossoming of a profound interfaith friendship and the birth of a new way of relating to others. The authors provide detailed advice on how to start a faith club and maintain an open-minded attitude to come through the experience with an enriched personal faith and understanding of others.

This pioneering and deeply thoughtful book’s caring message will resonate with people of all faiths. Visit www.thefaithclub.com for more information on starting your own faith club.

Editoral Review

In “The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew–Three Women Search for Understanding,” author Suzanne Oliver takes on the daunting task of exploring the deeply personal and complex worldviews of three women from different religious backgrounds. Published in 2006, this book is a powerful testament to the transformative power of friendship, dialogue, and respect, even in the face of profound differences.

Oliver’s writing style is accessible and engaging, incorporating vivid descriptions, powerful anecdotes, and poignant reflections on the deeper meaning of religion in our lives. While the themes of the book are weighty and profound, the author never loses sight of the human faces behind the stories, making the book both relatable and emotionally resonant.

The central plot of the book revolves around the formation of a “faith club,” a small group of women drawn together by their desire to explore their own beliefs and understand those of others. Over the course of the book, we are introduced to Ranya, a Muslim raised in Iraq, Priscilla, a Christian from the southern United States, and Suzanne, a Jewish writer from New York City.

Despite the inherent difficulties of reconciling their different perspectives, the women are able to forge a powerful bond based on mutual understanding and respect. Through a series of conversations, debates, and shared experiences, the women come to understand their own faith traditions more deeply, while also gaining a new appreciation for the richness and complexity of other worldviews.

Along the way, they encounter a wide range of cultural and historical issues, including the legacy of the Holocaust, the role of women in patriarchal societies, and the difficulties of finding meaning and purpose in a rapidly changing world. One of the strengths of the book is Oliver’s ability to tackle these complex themes without descending into preachiness or dogmatism.

Instead, she allows the reader to explore these issues alongside the characters, drawing on a wide range of sources and perspectives to paint a nuanced and multifaceted picture of the human experience. At times, the book can feel a bit uneven, with some chapters feeling rushed or underdeveloped, while others feel overly detailed or repetitive.

Similarly, some readers may find the author’s perspective a bit too liberal or politically correct, while others may feel that she does not fully explore some of the more challenging aspects of religion, such as the problem of evil, cults, or the threat of extremism. Overall, however, “The Faith Club” is a powerful and thought-provoking read, one that will challenge readers to reconsider their own beliefs and engage with the world in a more meaningful and compassionate way.

Whether you are a person of faith, an agnostic, or an atheist, this book has something important to offer, reminding us of the power of human connection and the importance of finding common ground in our diverse and often challenging world. It is a book that deserves to be read and treasured by all those who seek deeper understanding and greater compassion.