Teachers of reading should be readers. As such, I would like to occasionally post reviews of books I have read. I received One Glorious Ambition by Jane Kirkpatrick free of charge for the purpose of reviewing. I was not encouraged to write the review with any particular viewpoint in mind, only to share my truthful opinion after reading. I was not paid or rewarded in any way for the following review.
When I looked at the choices of books to consider reviewing, I was thrilled to see a title by author Jane Kirkpatrick. I had read two of her books a few years ago, and found them to be among those special books that lingered on the fringes of my memory, frequently inserting themselves into life’s events and circumstances. I selected One Glorious Ambition anxious for a similar experience. What I quickly realized was that I had misjudged the time it would take to read this text, which I learned was based on the life of Dorothea Dix, an educator and crusader for the humane treatment of the insane. This was no light read, or feel good story, but a heavy, sometimes dark story of a troubled heroine. Kirkpatrick writes about Miss Dix in such a way that her depression finds its way into the crevices of one’s mind, and breaks in reading are needed to once again fill those places with light. Yet it also pulls the reader back to the story with a desire to know that Miss Dix also finds a way to air out her soul, to breathe in light.
In this story Dorothea Dix waits a long time for God to “set upon her heart that specific cause that should be her one glorious ambition,” meaning her purpose in life. Ms Kirkpatrick has found her glorious ambition in writing as a means to share God’s story through the story of His people. Ms Kirkpatrick’s gift of word choice paints vivid mental images, visual and emotional, that tug at the reader’s heart. Ms Dix found hers in championing the needs of the insane. In her diary she writes, “Relieving the suffering of others will relieve my own,” and , ”As I am homeless I will create homes for the insane,” Family issues growing up had a lifelong impact on Ms Dix. A lifetime of disappointments did not sway her from what she knew to be her God given purpose. I will resist the temptation to close this review with a comment concerning Ms Dix’s success or failure in her quest.
I would recommend this book to historical fiction and biography fans alike, with the suggestion to trust the author enough to continue to read to the end.