Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review: Close Your Eyes When Praying

A Book You Can Buy From Me

Book Title: Close Your Eyes when Praying

Author: Virginia Cary Hudson

Publisher: Harper Collins

Date: 1968

Length: 127 pages

Illustrations: cartoons by Susan Perl

ISBN: 0060640693

Quote: "'Then you will teach the Deborahites?' he ventured...And here I am, a woman old enough to be the grandmother of your children, cast in the role of a lion thrown into a den of Daniels."

That's how Virginia Cary Hudson introduces herself as the teacher in a young women's Sunday School class during the early twentieth century, and her notes for her actual lectures on women in the Bible are in a similar vein.

Her insights into the Bible stories are more personal, witty, and entertaining than scholarly, with many digressions into memory. This book can't be recommended as a work of Bible scholarship--what it does offer in that direction is pretty common knowledge--but it is an enjoyable read.

It's like listening to a dear little old lady who had some education and some delightful stories to tell, which seems to have been what Mrs. Hudson was. All four of her books were posthumously published. She saved the school essays published as O Ye Jigs and Juleps, the speech notes published as Credos and Quips, and these Sunday school notes, and her daughter saved the letters published as Flapdoodle Trust and Obey, but during her lifetime she merely murmured wistfully that she wished she'd had more education and could have written a book. Once she was safely buried and could no longer be embarrassed, her daughter published these papers as books. I think Mrs. Hudson would have appreciated the fact that, in the 1960s, they were bestsellers.

Close Your Eyes When Praying has now achieved collector prices--it costs much more on Amazon than it cost when new. I have the hardcover edition, exactly like the picture on the Amazon page except that the Amazon photo displays upside down on my browser. My copy has been exposed to mold, and cleaned, so it's available in real life at a much lower price than the $20 plus $5 shipping I would be forced to charge if you actually buy this book from me online. Since Mrs. Hudson is beyond any need for the $2.50 this price would generate for her, the only reason to buy it from me, rather than directly from Amazon, is to earn a free advertorial post (in which you may insert live links to commercial sites). I'm posting this review to steer traffic to the Mountain Treasures store in Gate City, Virginia, where my cleaned copy should soon become available for much less than $25.