Soul to Sole
Judging by the cover of Carolyn Evaughn Knowles’ Soul to Sole, The Views From the Shoes, one might expect a memoir about the types of shoes three women wore, and how they directly impacted their spiritual lives. What we get is more, and less.
There are five parts to this book, one for each of three generations of women, including Ms Knowles’ mother and daughter. Another part was for Gil Knowles, the author’s husband and the only male contributor. There are various other female contributors. The final part, which implores the reader to find their way with God as the driving force behind all actions, uses metaphorical shoes to drive the point home.
Soul to Sole appears from the outside to be a book about the role shoes play in a person’s spirituality, and, in fact, every contributor mentions the types of shoes they’ve worn along their paths in life. But at its heart, the book is about trusting God, having faith, and being willing to change direction, or their own metaphorical shoes, as God deems fit for each individual life.
Even though each contributor has gone through various paths in life, and therefore has worn different types of shoes, one thing remains a constant: their faith in God.
While the author and her contributors’ use of shoes in their stories is sometimes literal, more often than not, the shoes are symbolic of the walks they’ve taken with Jesus. Each contributor mentions which types of shoes they’ve worn, but often, this just tells us what jobs they’ve had or roles they’ve played within their families, and the shoes aren’t the main focus of their contribution to the book.
The actual focus of the book is on the role God has played in their lives, and while this is a wonderful testament to the role He has had in the lives of a variety of women, the title and cover art could lead a reader to expect an entirely different experience than the one he or she will receive. In fact, even the description on the back of the book focuses more on the shoes a person will wear than on the relationships with God that are so prevalent throughout the book.
This is a well-written and interesting memoir chronicling three generations of women with the added bonus of several contributors who all talk about the paths they’ve taken and the role God has had in their choices, but the underlying message is that no matter which shoes a person chooses, God is always there to help them along the way.
Carolyn Evaughn Knowles