As soon as the first page is read, you can usually tell if you are going to like a book. I read the first page of How To Make Victoria Sponge: a journey of faith by Margaret Kazmierczak, and I knew that I was going to love the book. Victoria Sponge is a wife, daughter and mother to four children. She lives an ordinary life, and shares just one week in the book. The book is split into chapters, one for each day. Each day is split into morning, afternoon, evening and night. The novel is written in the first person from the perspective of Victoria Sponge. It is a very clever book, with each part of the narrative divided into present action, Victoria's prayers and God's words to her. These are all very clear as each is shown by a different print. The whole novel flows perfectly, and leaves the reader with a feeling of calm and great beauty. I could empathise with Victoria - her day could easily have been my day. Things happen - both good and bad. Life is hectic, but we have to make time for what is important. Every day Victoria Sponge says yes to God, and then she goes about her day. Her day is peppered with prayers, not the holier than though prayers, but the conversational prayers. She asks God for help, and she remembers to thank Him for all the good in her life. Victoria does daily life with God. Being a Christian does not make you immune to bad things, but when bad or difficult situations arise, Victoria looks to God for guidance. I absolutely loved the novel. It was clever. It was funny. It was 'real'. it tugged at my heart strings and it made me cry. It is in essence, a very beautiful book. It will, if you let the words sink deep into your soul, change your life. I want to be more like Victoria Sponge, saying yes to God at the start of every day, and conversing with Him throughout the day, looking for opportunities to become more like God. I thought all of the characters within the novel were well drawn and likeable. Next to Victoria, my favourite was her teenage son Johnny, who had special needs. As a teaching assistant to teenagers with special needs, I found myself drawn to him. His words at times, broke my heart. As did the words spoken to Johnny by the school chaplain - you will have to read the book to see what I mean. The final fifty ages of the book are entitled The Jewel In The Sponge, and it is Johnny's story for part of the week. It was wonderful to see the world through Johnny's eyes, and to see the action from his perspective. I cannot urge you too strongly to buy a copy of How To Make Victoria Sponge. It is beautiful, with the power to change your life if you let it. I am definitely going to be buying more copies to give away to my friends. And I do hope that Margaret Kazmierczak will be writing many more books.
It took me a few pages to get into the format of the book, but once I did I enjoyed the story of Vicki practicing the presence of God in her every day life with the needs of her adolescent children and aging parents vying for her time. Her day is believably chaotic for a household with three teenagers and a lively ten year old despite her saying, 'yes' to God every morning. The book reads like a prayer journal of a particularly eventful week in Vicki's life and was testimony to how her faith helped her through it. Although I felt that Vicki was a little insensitive to others who didn't have her depth of faith she does recognise that she is not perfect, that she makes mistakes and she is able to laugh at herself and some of the amusing situations she gets herself into. The telling of her son Johnny's story in 'a Jewel in the Sponge' made me think of the book of Revelation to John but with a comprehensive explanation of his vision. I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.
After taking awhile to get into this Christian novel, I was blessed by the 1st person narrative mixed with Vicki's prayer conversations with God. These challenged and encouraged me in my own prayer life and I related to Vicki's character as a busy Mum, bringing up 4 kids, including teenagers and juggling this responsibility with her parents ' needs and her job. Full of comedy and heartbreak, I found this an entertaining and sometimes gritty read. Thoroughly recommend it for Christian busy Mums ( and Dads!) like me!
I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.
Margaret Kazmierczak's book How to make Victoria Sponge was incredibly compelling. I fell in love with the Sponge family. The character, Victoria Sponge, continually responds to life's messiness with love and grace. In the most heart wrenching moments in the book, especially after her son Johnny is maliciously bullied at school, Vicki turns to Jesus so his love can smooth over all the rough spots. I found myself laughing and crying about the daily events this family came up against, yet how graciously Bob and Victoria (the mother and father) responded to their children and to their day-to-day challenges. One quote that was highlighted to me in the book was when, after a really traumatizing day, Victoria says, "may I have planted [Jesus'] seed into the lives of others through my work and actions, so that when [Jesus'] rain shines upon them they produce a rich harvest." To me, this is the theme of the book--seeds being planted even on the weariest of days. Nothing can interfere with Christ's love being lived out on a day-to-day basis. On her most gritty day, Victoria has her evening prayer and Jesus says to her, "Vicki, I asked you to be with me in the Garden of Gethsemane, to stay awake and be of comfort to me in my time of anguish. You were not found asleep or failing in your response." Vicki then asks, "When was I in Gethsemane Lord?" He gently responds, "When you listened to your son's anguish I was weeping too and when your heart was breaking at the sight of your son's agony, my sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood." Victoria's intimacy with Jesus during her most trying moments is what made me love this book so much. We can all find ourselves in this book, and in doing so we can live our lives differently, full of grace and hope and love even during despairing times. I would highly recommend getting to know the Sponge family in this beautifully written book.
This book is powerful in so many ways that I don’t even know where to begin! A major part of its power is in its uniqueness. I love the mixture of intense themes and slapstick humor. Specifically, I love the mixture of messages learned through comic situations and tragic situations.
The main character, Victoria Sponge, works in a preschool. This is the vehicle that the author uses to sweetly teach us some important life lessons. A few of the skills that Victoria learns from her students follow: stay grounded, live in the present, take a hands-on approach to life, keep it simple, be humble, be pure, and trust in God.
Some of the important issues addressed in the book include bullying and dealing with mental challenges.
The book is full of wonderful quotes. My favorites are “With Me everything is possible for those that believe.”; “Take something positive from a situation even when it presents itself in a negative form.”, and; “Never underestimate your potential.”
The ending of the book was completely unexpected, mind-blowing, and empowering. It was so unique and profound that it moved me to tears. To say that it really made me think would be an understatement.
A really delightful book, thoughtful, sensitive, faith filled, touching, funny and poignant. As a wife, mother and Christian i find myself all too able to relate to the Character of Victoria Sponge, laughing with her and crying with her as she faces the ups and downs of family life and living in a broken world. A charming and thought provoking read...... I definitely recommend it. A big thumbs up from me!
What a remarkable and enriching book - engaging, practical, funny, sad, powerful and poignant. It's structure and immediacy hooked me at once - I'd not read anything quite like it before. An entirely original way of writing about family, faith, and meaning.
Thoroughly enjoyed the depiction of family life and all its tribulations. As another reviewer said, as a mum there are situations that you can really relate to. An easy book to read and one that makes you want to find out what happens next in the Sponge household....!