Hutcheson’s memoir is about approaching life with a giving, joyful spirit, even through difficult circumstances.
In A. J. Hutcheson’s heartfelt memoir Choices Consequences Crowns, the author’s love of music and steadfast Christian faith endure even in the face of a major illness.
Hutcheson was literally born into her faith: Dr. Walter Wilson, the physician at her birth, founded the Central Bible Hall, and her father, Dwight, was a musical director and the cofounder of multiple faith-based organizations throughout the Midwest, where Hutcheson grew up. Later, with her missionary-minded husband, she traveled around the world to countries including Egypt, Peru, and Greece. Along the way, she gave birth to four boys, maintained a long and successful nursing career, and faced a life-altering diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
Hutcheson’s many experiences abroad and her deep knowledge of nursing lend dimension to her story, which focuses on her family and medical history.
The text’s style is warm and straightforward, capturing a sympathetic individual with believable flaws: “I am not an easy learner when it comes to ‘me,’ whether it be with my body or with my spirit.” Through her life events—travel, parenting, her career, her illness—Hutcheson’s relationship with God remains paramount, influencing every aspect of her life. Her exotic travels and behind-the-scenes hospital stories are appealing, but the book is most resonant in its approaches to Christianity.
Doubt and fear are part of this faith; as Hutcheson struggles with her ups and downs in relation to her beliefs, her story is moving. Refreshing moments of levity, as when she faces two rogue snakes at a Christian girls’ summer camp, are peppered throughout.
The narrative arc is not always focused; several times, the story jumps ahead and confuses its chronology. Pacing is uneven; the book often lingers on distracting asides, as when Hutcheson discusses meeting Harry and Bess Truman or talks about the coincidence of interacting with several doctors from the same family. Closing chapters are jarringly devoted to overviews of her sons’ lives.
The stark cover image is an odd match with the book’s friendly tone. Family photos are interspersed throughout, breathing life into Hutcheson’s stories. Each chapter, in a nod to the author’s abiding love of music, starts with a hymn that relates, if sometimes obscurely, to the text that follows.
Hutcheson’s memoir is about approaching life with a joyful, giving spirit, even through difficult circumstances.
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