Tyndale House Publishers
If you are looking for a short nonfiction book that will make you think, look no further than Elisa Morgan’s SDWSC (She Did What She Could): Five letters that will change your life. Morgan takes a Bible story many of us are familiar with, Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus with expensive perfume to the dismay of those around her, and applies it to us. We are taken from the impact of Mary’s selfless act to asking ourselves what impact it might have if each of us did what we could, and, finally, what impact it might have if we as a group did what we could. Modern day examples of what it looks like to do what we can are given throughout the book, and will be very helpful in figuring out for ourselves what we can do. Morgan gives a lot of help and some deep ideas to think about for such a short book.
This book, however, is not without its flaws. Morgan can be quite redundant, retelling Mary of Bethany’s story regularly, repeating the “she did what she could” mantra consistently, and asking, “What if we did what we could?” at every turn. It’s clearly done for emphasis, but strikes me as overdone and might strike you the same way. She is easily distracted, as seen in her tangent about what she feels is a popular misconception—that Mary of Bethany’s story is the same as that found in Luke 7 (which is actually about the sinful woman)—and makes a jarring transition back into focus. Finally, she isn’t consistent with her delivery of modern examples—sometimes they appear at the end of a chapter, sometimes they don’t, and (toward the end) sometimes they appear in multiples in the middle of chapters—with no clear reason as to why.
The premise of the book, the deep thinking it will force you to do, and the author’s ultimate point, make this a worthwhile text, but go into it prepared to fight through the repetition, inconsistencies, and confusion. If you are up to the challenge and are looking for a brief nonfiction book to read, and want learn what you can do to make a difference in this world, I strongly recommend it. – Shannon Potelicki, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Most of us care. We really do. We care about poverty and injustice, about orphans and the sick. And yet, weighed down by the everyday load of bringing home a paycheck, putting food on the table, and taking care of our family demands, we question our ability to make a difference. Bombarded by one celebrity help-the-world-athon after another, we shrug our shoulders in futility and do absolutely nothing. Enter SDWSC. Based on the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume in Mark 14, SDWSC provides overwhelmed, yet service-seeking, significance-starved readers a realistic response to the seemingly unmeetable needs around us.