Review of “Begin Again” by Leeanna Tankersley

by Clark Roush, Ph.D.

I found it appropriate that I finished reading Leeanna Tankersley’s newest book, “Begin Again” a few minutes after midnight as the clock hands advanced into Easter. I found it fitting because Leeanna’s book has a consistent undercurrent of resurrection – the resurrection of the spiritual self on an “as needed” basis as part of one’s spiritual journey.

I thoroughly enjoyed her previous missive, “Brazen,” and it came across to me as a kind of personal manifesto. Leeanna has entered a completely new realm with “Begin Again.” It is about transformation!! She uses the experiences and phases of her life in an incredibly transparent and moving way to offer writing and content of great significance. I believe this is far and away her best writing, her richest content, and her most heart-gripping work.

She peels back the layers of her self and her faith journey, but never in a way to come across as though she has all the answers. She does offer unwavering encouragement and a reminder that nothing we do or don’t do will ever change the way God loves us, believes in us, and is there for us. Her writing constantly points to the One who has graced her – and is waiting to grace us as well.

Her mantra of “Begin Again” is tied directly to monastic thought, and she weaves the potential for how that might look in contemporary life with eloquence and surety. This book makes your heart breath more in rhythm with its Creator.

Leeanna’s filter is predominantly both female and stay-at-home mom, but it would be insulting to insinuate you must be either of those to benefit from what she shares. She passionately provides truths that transcend gender and place. I am a 59 year old male college professor, and found the book both riveting and enlightening.

Even before finishing “Begin Again” I was aware of the following: (1) this is a special book, (2) this book challenged me and changed me, (3) I will buy multiple copies to give to people I thought of as I read, (4) I will buy multiple copies to share with the college students I am blessed to teach, (5) I can truthfully say I consider this a must-read.

If there was any doubt prior to this book, in my mind and heart, Leeanna joins the pantheon of significant Christian writers to have greatly influenced my personal faith journey: Sarah Bessey, Rachel Held Evans, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Addie Zierman, Diana Butler Bass, Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle Melton, Jen Hatmaker, and Shauna Niequist.

If you’re looking for a book that presents real-life pain, suffering, struggles, and failures instead of pithy one-liners and “self-help” language, this is the book for you. I urge you to make a commitment to your heart, your faith, and your life – dive into this book and drink deeply from its well. Your spirit and your soul will find the time well spent, and I believe the partial template she provides to “Begin Again” is essential. The book also has some helpful suggestions from sources other than Leeanna in the Epilogue to consider as you ponder ways to put into practice the message provided.