Friday, March 8, 2019

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: I Love to Tell the Story by Susan Barnett Braun

About the Book

Book: I Love to Tell the Story  
Author: Susan Barnett Braun  
Genre: Memoir

Is it possible to emerge unscathed from an evangelical upbringing? Yes, as surely as David slew Goliath! 

I Love to Tell the Story is Susan Barnett Braun’s account of growing up Baptist in a small midwestern town, touching on many cultural icons common to those who came of age in the 1970s. Braun recounts childhood obstacles, which loom as large as the walls of Jericho in her eyes. She encounters a trio of Sunday school mean girls who make King Herod look tame. She worries about being “ugly as sin” due to her chubbiness, glasses, and braces. She’s so consumed with the idea of Jesus’ imminent return that she wonders whether it’s even worthwhile to brush her teeth at night. 

Humorous, poignant, and ultimately triumphant, I Love to Tell the Story will stay with readers long after the last Vacation Bible School craft stick cross has fallen apart.  

Click here to get your copy. 

My Thoughts

If ever a book seemed like looking into a mirror as I read, it would have to be I Love to Tell the Story. Susan Barnett Braun has a gift for writing and expressing the tons of growing-up experiences she shares – and I enjoyed every word. It was literally like taking a walk down memory lane for me.

Braun’s memoir sparkles with humor, poignancy, and spiritual insight. Other than the church and geographical location, our lives were incredibly similar. I grew up in the suburbs of a large southern city and my life revolved around the neighborhood Christian church from the day I was born. We were plagued with some of the same insecurities, but were nurtured by family and life was very good overall.

I loved Braun’s thoughts about her pastor … I figured Dr. Silver was a lot like God would be, if God were a person. You knew him, but then again, you really didn’t. I didn’t really “know” my pastor well either, but he was funny, maybe a little more accessible than Dr. Silver, and I was glued to his sermons as I got older.

So many of Braun’s nostalgic images are wonderful, and I could relate to every single one. Each chapter begins with a beloved hymn, reflecting the chapter’s content, and the words to every verse are in my heart. But it was the youth songs and choruses that touched me most, because again, I had sung each one she mentioned – I’m in the Lord’s Army, Zacchaeus, and Deep and Wide just to name a few. Braun also mentions a children’s musical called It’s Cool in the Furnace – and as a youth leader after college, I actually directed a children’s choir in this performance!

The memoir concludes with Braun’s high school graduation and worrying about understanding God’s will at the time. The words of her teacher are timeless and so relatable: “You just take the next step... If you live your day-to-day life in a way that pleases him, you won’t miss God’s will.”


I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

Susan Barnett Braun earned a BS in retail management from Indiana University and an MA in education from the University of Alabama. She taught for eight years in northeast Indiana, earning a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Study Scholarship. 

Susan has had work published in Parents, Children’s Ministry, and The Secret Place. She also writes online for Fort Wayne Visitor’s Bureau and blogs at Girls in White Dresses. 

She is married with three wonderful young adult daughters. Susan enjoys reading, playing piano and organ, and spending her time with her family and pets (currently three rabbits and a chinchilla).


Guest Post from Susan

One of the reasons I began blogging, ten years ago now, was to document my childhood memories for my kids. Why? When I was a teacher, before I had kids, I used to tell my students stories from my youth. They loved them and begged for more. Same thing when I had my own kids. I wanted to document these tales, but the problem always came in finding the time and the motivation to actually get around to writing them down. 

Childhood Memories Friday posts on my blog helped get me moving in the right direction. Eventually, I began thinking I’d like to compile a bunch of the memories into book form. Since many of my most vivid memories revolved around church, I decided that that was the perfect theme. And “I Love to Tell the Story” was born. Each chapter is titled with a hymn that reflects its theme. As I delved into the writing, I had a lot of fun reliving the decidedly memorable life I had led as a youth :). I realized, too, that many aspects of my conservative midwestern upbringing don’t exist anymore in the 21st century. I became nostalgic thinking about the many cultural markers of the 1970s — Lawrence Welk, the Flintstones, — even macrame and latch-hook! 

Another goal in writing this book was to put out a positive Christian memoir. So many that I read started out fine, but then dissolved into abuse, disillusionment, or even worse. I began to wonder if anyone had grown up in the church and actually enjoyed the experience … surely I wasn’t alone, was I? 

Treat yourself to a stroll down memory lane. It’s my hope that you’ll enjoy yourself.  


To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away a grand prize of a copy of the book and a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.

Blog Stops


  1. Carole, thank you so much for reading and reviewing my book. I'm wishing we lived closer, because I know we'd have a lot of fun reminiscing over lunch :)

  2. Sounds like an interesting read. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I like how each story has a song tied to it.

  4. Wonderful review, Carole! Sounds like a must read.