Title: There’s a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse
Author: Jessie Clemence
Major Themes: Motherhood
Synopsis: The mother of two children discusses how being a mother has changed her life and encourages and challenges other mothers in their God-given task.
As a mother, I am drawn to books about motherhood, by mothers. No matter where we live, or how we live, mothers have many things in common with each other. Some are better than others at putting those things into words—and some have the gift of being able to write to encourage us in our job and in being who God wants us to be.
In There’s a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse, Jessie Clemence discusses her transformation from a young woman who knew everything about raising children—to an ordinary mother who needed God because, as it turned out (surprise!) she actually knew nothing about mothering. That sounded all too familiar to me; children have a way of making you feel helpless and showing you how much you desperately need God and His wisdom.
Jessie has given her chapters titles beginning with “I Want…” What do we, as Christian mothers, want? To be Selfless, Patient, Peaceful, Happy, and many other things. At the end of each chapter, she has a few study questions—which I’ll admit I didn’t take the time to really think about. Each chapter begins with quotes from mothers Jessie has interviewed, answering questions about motherhood. I’ll have to say, these quotes are among my favorite parts of the book! They also add another dimension to the book; Jessie has only two children, but some of the mothers she has interviewed have several more.
As far as some specifics I appreciated, this quote from Chapter 11, “I Want to be a Fearless Mother,” really struck me: “If Jesus himself asked for protection for His friends, not ease, then this is crucial.” The chapter is about praying for our children, with examples from the Bible. I appreciated the encouragement; this is an area in which I am weak. I also found this quote, from Chapter 8, “I Want to Be a Smart Mother,” quite convicting: “If you get one thing out of this book, please let it be this: humbly seek God in everything. Make seeking Him the foundation for every decision you will ever have because He is the source of every blessing you will receive.” This is a lesson I have had to learn over and over again; being a mother to eight children is much too big a task for me and I have to have God’s wisdom and guidance.
One thing I’m not sure I agree with the author on is her reasoning for getting a job away from home. She makes a good argument that this was necessary for her to maintain her sanity. That may be; it may be the right thing for her. I’m just not sure that, Biblically, it is right for a wife and mother to work away from home. Overall, though, I found the book challenging and encouraging, and if you are a mother needing to be challenged and encouraged, this might be a good book to get hold of.
I received a free ecopy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.