- Title: The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip
- Author: Sara Brunsvold
- Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
- Genre: Christian Fiction
- Would I recommend: YES. The world needs more Mrs. Kips. Go get this book and be inspired.
Aidyn Kelley is talented, ambitious, and ready for a more serious assignment than the fluff pieces she’s been getting as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star. In her eagerness, she pushes too hard, earning herself the menial task of writing an obituary for an unremarkable woman who’s just entered hospice care. But there’s more to Clara Kip than meets the eye. The spirited septuagenarian may be dying, but she’s not quite ready to cash it in yet. Never one to shy away from an assignment herself, she can see that God brought the young reporter into her life for a reason. And if it’s a story Aidyn Kelley wants, that’s just what Mrs. Kip will give her—but she’s going to have to work for it.
I have just finished reading The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip, and I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face. I think I can say without spoiling anything that Mrs. Kip dies in the book. There’s sadness over that. But in the final extraordinary death of Mrs. Kip, there is joy. She is a woman who’s dedicated her life to loving as Jesus loves, to serving others, and she goes home to her Savior a mighty conqueror.
Aidyn Kelley, a young and talented reporter, wanted a real story, under her byline. She chafed at doing what she saw as grunt work for another, more experienced reporter. She wanted something with substance. She tried to take matters into her own hands to get that story, but her efforts failed in a big way. When she’s assigned to write an obituary for Clara Kip, someone who says herself that she lived an “exceedingly unimpressive” life, she thinks her editor is punishing her for trying to get above her station.
Little does Aidyn know the story that Mrs. Kip has to tell, and little does she realize that her dreaded, hard-nosed editor is one of those warriors that the Lord hides in the most surprising places.
Mrs. Kip made a deal with Aidyn. For every extraordinary way to die that Aidyn dreamed up for her, Mrs. Kip would answer three questions about her life. This led to some pretty humorous moments as Aidyn came up with ways both mild and wild in which Mrs. Kip could meet her Maker. And true to her word, Mrs. Kip answered Aidyn’s questions. And the events of her life unfolded in memories and flashbacks.
At first, I wondered why Mrs. Kip didn’t just TELL Aidyn her story. Why did she want Aidyn to work for it? Why did she want Aidyn to want to know her story, to seek it out? And the more I read, the more I saw: God was working through Mrs. Kip to break Aidyn’s pride, to help her see what was truly important in life. Clara Kip was loving Aidyn the best she could by not just handing Aidyn her life story and saying, “Here you go!” By realizing that this wasn’t “just” an obituary, by seeing that Mrs. Kip’s was a story that needed to be told, by learning how Mrs. Kip impacted others by dying to self and going where the Lord led her, Aidyn found her own strength in the Lord. And she saw what a privilege it had been for Mrs. Kip, and what a delight it could be for her, to live a life of mindful, joyful service to others, with no heed given to whatever status the world did or didn’t convey.
How often have I not loved people as best as I could? How much more could the light of Jesus have shone through me over the years had I been devoted to mindful, joyful service? This book made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think. And isn’t that what a good story is supposed to do?
As an added bonus, this story points us to the greatest Story ever told: God’s love for us and the gift of eternal life available to all of us – “whoever will” – through His Son Jesus. Mrs. Kip is a marvelous example of someone who loves well and does her human best to love like Jesus. She “lived as if death were merely a phase, not an end. She poured out as if she would never go empty.” In case you hadn’t figured, yes, I am a Christ-follower. Some days I follow better than others. Some days I reckon the Good Lord shakes His head and rolls His eyes and gently says, “Well, she’s trying!” I’m not going to thump you over the head with my Bible (it isn’t even a King James Bible!). If you’re a fellow believer, drop me an email and say hey! If there’s something I can pray for you about, drop me an email and let me know. If you aren’t a believer but you have questions, drop me an email and ask. I may not have all the answers, but I can do my best to find out. If you aren’t a believer and don’t want to hear about Jesus, I won’t beat you up about it. But I hope you stick around for my bookish shenanigans.
Now, back to my review. The extraordinary deaths of Mrs. Kip were the deaths she died to self serving others. As she said, “The Lord never failed to answer a prayer for work to do.” She died in amazing ways every time she said yes to His work. That made hers a story worth telling and a life well lived.
I’d give this book ten stars if I could. It is easily one of my favorite books of 2022, maybe ever. If any of what I’ve written here speaks to you, please, go get a copy of this book and get to reading.
Disclaimer: I received an advance copy from Revell Reads. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.