As someone writing a book on a controversial/political topic, I am so inspired by how Taylor writes this book.
And let’s be clear: gun reform is WAY more controversial than homelessness. Not to mention, Taylor has experienced the harsh realities of the issue in a way that most advocates for reform (on any issue) hope they never have to be. So when Taylor writes with grace, care, and patience, it is a choice, and I’m sure not an easy one.
The first half of the book is a memoir of sorts, about Taylor and her journey. It’s more vignette than linear narrative, highlighting the particular themes and ideas that emerged in her story. I found this part of the book is impossible to put down. Taylor fully immerses us in her experience, the beautiful and the ugly, unflinchingly. Some of the best writing, especially in nonfiction, is invisible. It doesn’t come across as showy, or noticeably “great.” But you find yourself immersed, flipping pages, and saying “just one more chapter/section.”
The second half moves from memoir to making the case for reducing gun violence. If you’re with her through her story, you owe it to the book to read the rest even if you disagree. Taylor carefully and accessibly makes the case for reforms minor and major, gradual and sweeping. No matter where you find yourself on the political spectrum, I promise you will find something in these chapters that makes you think at least a small change is necessary.
What I most appreciated about this latter half is, again, the choices Taylor makes: what to argue, and what not to bother with. In a later chapter, she explains that the longer you engage people on this debate, the more you can tell who is arguing from a place of curiosity, and who is arguing just to yell at you. She encourages the drawing of boundaries, and she practices what she preaches. You won’t see Taylor arguing with points that are in bad faith, or are primarily besides the point for people of faith. In a book like this, for example, I expected Taylor to (have to) engage the Second Amendment. But she rightfully dismisses this altogether: what good is a right if it doesn’t serve us? Taylor’s focus is on the reduction of violence, and she backs. it. up. To be on Taylor’s side is to simply agree that violence and death are bad, and to want to do something about it. It’s good writing, good arguing, and most importantly, in good faith.
Taylor’s book is a must – not just for people interested in the issue or in advocacy. This is just one of those books that needs to be in the hands of all people of faith.