Friday, April 05, 2013

Book Review: Jacob's Ladder: Ten Steps to Truth


By Peter Kreeft, released March 25, 2013, Ignatius Press, 153 pages. Paperback or Kindle. Available from Ignatius Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, major book stores and Catholic book stores.

Reviewed by Jean M. Heimann, M.A. in Theology, freelance writer, retired psychologist, and oblate with the Community of St. John.

In Jacob’s Ladder: Ten Steps to Truth, popular Catholic philosopher and writer Peter Kreeft brilliantly tackles the truth of life via two fictional characters with different philosophies who explore ten important questions, which lead to truth. The two women meet daily on a beach, where their discussion begins at the bottom rung of the ladder, passion, and climb up the other nine rungs of the ladder – truth, meaning, love, principles, God, Jews, Jesus, Catholics, and authority – one step at a time, to discover truth.

The year is 1977 and the characters are Libby Rawls, a twenty-three year-old woman who has just resigned from the Massachusetts Department of Social Services and a slightly more mature woman of mixed race (My mind’s eye kept picturing her as a Queen Latifa/Halle Berrie/Elizabeth Taylor composite) who is known as “Mother” by the locals. Libby is already burnt out and cynical about her life as a young adult and needs some mothering, as well as some spiritual direction and “Mother” is the wise woman in her world God has chosen to direct her.

Peter Kreeft glides through the dialogue of these two characters, making them appear so real and appealing. My eyes were glued to each page, wondering what they would say next and what their reactions and responses would be to each point of discussion on the ladder. I was delightfully entertained and even amused, at times, by their activities, and enlightened by their conversation with one another. This is an inspiring book, which you need to read carefully and meditatively, letting the ideas presented open your mind and heart to the truth. Some of the questions it answers are: What is the meaning of life? What is love, and why is it so important for our lives? If there is a God, what proof is there for his existence?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this imaginative, ingenious  and illuminating book, which is filled with excellent explanations of life’s most crucial questions. It is a must-read for all those who seek the truth. I highly recommend it.

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