London-born Kate Bowler, a thirty-five year-old professor at the school of divinity at Duke, had finally had a baby with her childhood sweetheart when she began to feel jabbing pains in her stomach. She lost thirty pounds, guzzled antacid, and visited doctors for three months before she was finally diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer.
As Kate navigates the aftermath of her diagnosis, she pulls the reader into her life and her history – affectionately filled with a colourful retinue of friends, mega-church preachers, parents, and doctors – and shares her irreverent, laser-sharp reflections on faith, friendship, love, and death. She wonders why suffering makes her feel like a loser and explores the burden of positivity. Trying to relish the time she still has with her son and husband, she realizes she must cure her habit of ‘skipping to the end’ and planning the next move. An historian of the American Prosperity Gospel (the creed of the megachurches that promises believers a cure for tragedy, if they just want it badly enough) Kate finds that she craves these same 'outrageous certainties'. Why is it so hard to surrender when she knows there are no spiritual guarantees?
In Everything Happens for Reason we encounter one of the talented, courageous few who - like Paul Kalanithi - can articulate the grief we feel as we contemplate our own mortality.
Kate Bowler is an assistant professor in the school of divinity at Duke University. A graduate of Yale Divinity School, Bowler's first book was BLESSED: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son.