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Three moon gifHoward Publishing (Hardcover), ISBN 1-878990-81-0
The small inspirational book, Hugs for Women embraces readers instead of bashing them over the head with Christian principles. Scriptures serve as vehicles to emphasize the writers' points and celebrate the female experience -- not Christian conversion.  

Book: Mary Hollingsworth, Hugs for WomenFor example, on page five Hollingsworth discusses the Hebrew word for Holy Spirit, explaining that it's a feminine word. She adds, "And I thought, Of course! The comforter. The guide...God created woman after the feminine side of his image."  

I didn't realize God had a feminine side, but I admit, I like the concept. 

Unlike the Chicken Soup (r) books that require a box of Kleenex and a family who understands why you're sobbing uncontrollably, Hugs for Women incorporates short touching stories focused on shining examples of womanhood. The author sprinkles brief, uplifting and thoughtful essays among the stories of good deeds and related scriptures. 

The themes reach out to women of all ages and relationships. Whether grandmothers, mothers or daughters, sisters, in-laws or simply friends, the words pinpoint the readers' needs. One of my favorite essays begins "A woman is not just a person; she's a miracle! Like a cosmic shape-shifter of Star Trek, she can transform into anything she needs to be in an instant." Amen. Within a single hour women shift from short order cook to cabby to housekeeper to nanny to nurse, to confidant. Shape-shifter indeed!


Far from maudlin, this book talks of life, not death. Never cheesy nor overly sentimental, Hollingsworth dwells on the positive -- no divorce, no dysfunctional families, just women's joys and importance. Between topics, Hollingsworth provides a page or two for remarks, making the book not only inspirational, but interactive as well.  

My only complaints center on the lack of fine illustrations, the monochromatic presentation and the book's length, 122 pages. But then, these faults also serve as strengths. Without the expense of four-color printing and special illustrations, the cost remains quite reasonable. And, with only 122 pages, the 1/2-inch thick, 5-1/2 by 7-1/2-inch book looks inviting, not daunting.  

Hugs for Women is one of a series of hugs for everyone you know -- mom, dad, friends, teachers, grandparents, etc. This little gift book, although printed in 1998, contains messages relevant and meaningful year after year. 

Dawn Goldsmith

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