The Plan for “As Soon As I Fell” {Book Club}

Happy New Year! And Happy New Book :). This month we’ll read As Soon As I Fell by Kay Bruner. Here’s the description from Amazon:

What happens when being radical for God brings you to the edge of disaster?

When Kay Bruner and her husband, Andy, took their young family to live on an island in the South Pacific, she found the purposeful, adventurous life she’d hoped for—along with isolated living, dangerous sea travel, tropical illnesses, and a floundering marriage. As they worked on a Bible translation project with a local language group, Kay sank into burnout and depression while Andy medicated his stress with a pornography addiction.

Stepping back from the brink required a radical reinvention of life, from a ministry and marriage built on high performance and spiritual heroism, to a nourishing daily walk of grace, freedom, and intimate connection.

This is a story about going to extremes for spiritual acceptability and failing dismally, only to find that love and grace transcend failure. For anyone who’s ever asked, “When will I be good enough for love?” This book resoundingly answers: “Right now. You are loved, right this minute, in this mess.” While few of us will live on a tiny island in the South Pacific, many of us will find hope and healing in this story of a painful fall into the arms of love.

Over the next three weeks, based on Kay’s story we will discuss her story and our own by roughly reading a third of the book over the each week. (Feel free to read ahead if you want, no guilt over not following the “rules.) Here’s the basic plan:

  • Kay will be joining us and in particular the last week of January where we can “Ask an Author.”
  • January 13: How our childhood formed us
  • January 20: Ministry related issues
  • January 27: Marriage and family on the field


You know I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but each year I set reading goals for myself. I prefer goals because they are more focused than a resolution to read more. One of my goals is to read 10 biographies this year. I’ve been in a memoir phase the last two years and as much as I love it, I sense if I don’t point myself in another direction, I’ll come to the end of 2015 wishing I’d read more biographies. I have a few on my list (like one about William Wilberforce by Eric Metaxas).

Modern Mrs. Darcy has a fun reading challenge for 2015 if you’re wanting something a bit more structured and limited to 12 books.

Here’s a fun list of 33 thoughts on reading by Austin Kleon — who uses two colorful words. Number 30, I agree! Thirty one and thirty two make me laugh. So true.

What are reading goals do you have? What biographies would you suggest for me? What categories of books would you like recommendations? 

Here’s to another year of reading :)!


Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site. 

Photo Credit : Unsplash


  1. Colleen Mitchell January 5, 2015

    I am going to take on the challenge from Modern Mrs. Darcy. I need a break from spiritual memoir too. All the stories are starting to run together and feel a little vapid because, you know, too much of a good thing. I need to take on some other genres. That challenge felt fun and achievable and my sisters agreed to do it with me as well as my teenaged son.

    1. Amy Young January 7, 2015

      How fun to get your sisters and son involved! Last night my niece came to another book club I’m in because we had read “The Outsiders” and she read it last summer and had loved it (and it was the first book she cried in! PTL, she has a heart! I was beginning to wonder when Where the Red Fern Grows didn’t get any emotional response from her). It was fun to hear her teenage insights. What book will you start with?

  2. Michele Call January 5, 2015

    I also love biographies, I find them so encouraging. I looked at Modern Mrs. Darcy’s reading challenge. It looks like fun and is so tempting…but alas my goal is to read as many books in Spanish as I do in English this year, meaning I am actually looking to read less books (in English that is). A biography I would recommend is “Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love to Thee” by Sharon James. And finally, the book club book looks great. I am going to download it on my kindle now.

    1. Amy Young January 7, 2015

      You go girl! I think it’s a noble goal to read in Spanish and wish I could say something more encouraging than “hi, 1, 23456789,10, beautiful, house, white, and thanks!” But when I say “beautiful three” what I mean is “you go girl!” Love that you have goals in other languages and I’ll need to check out that biography :). Thank you!

  3. Danielle Wheeler January 5, 2015

    I’m so excited to discuss “As Soon as I Fell” with all of you.  I picked it as an after-Christmas read, planning to read it slowly over the course of January, but I couldn’t put it down!  This book has so much to off us, as it identifies so many of the hidden issues of those in our profession.  It’s a brave, brave book.  And one that I think so many of us can identify with, even for those not in remote villages like Kay was.

    1. Amy Young January 7, 2015

      Danielle, agreed! Even though I haven’t lived in a remote village, I found this to be a book most can easily relate to. :)!

  4. Shelly January 5, 2015

    Amy, I read the list of 33 and i agree with you about 30-32. I like #29. And #16 was true of me today as I browsed the shelves at the local library. I just can’take read it all! There are so many paths I could take since reading a footnote-rich book with an annotated bibliography.

    As for biographies, I have not read any recently, but have Bonhoeffer on my shelf to be read soon.

    1. Amy Young January 7, 2015

      Shelly, I loved the Bonhoeffer book (it was one of the first kindle library books I got from my local library while at a conference in Thailand and I only had two weeks to read it … so I remember feeling like I was in a RACE against time !). I also remember how it “upped my came” when it came to vocab. 🙂 — I find when I’m reading I’m more comfortable with not knowing what a word means than is probably good for me (great skills as a cross-cultural worker, not so great when it comes to plugging holes in my vocab :))!

      I can’t wait to see the libraries in heaven and wonder what literature will look like there …

  5. T January 6, 2015

    Okay, so, I didn’t know the fabulousness that is the Fantasy genre (and also Science Fiction) til I was married.  Where were these books when I was reading stupid, stupid books by the kilo in high school (some series about cheerleaders kissing football players was big in there)?  So, I won’t recommend a biography, but a foray into a different genre.  I have really, really enjoyed my adventures into sci-fi–which started with CS Lewis’ Cosmic Trilogy–and now am very happily consuming a new release!!! (bless the oldest son of our friends who brought it from canada; it weighs at least 2kg!!)  Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, which is the 2nd of the Stormlight books.  If you want to try Sanderson, you can start with the Mistborn Triology.  Sanderson is Mormon, I think, and his books are quite clean–our 12yr old son is reading Mistborn now.

    How to say this…in recovering from being submerged in grief, and letting myself just stay sad because all else would take too much effort, I am trying to purposely do some things that will make me happy.  Reading these fantasy books, and reveling at the different types of societies and people groups and, even life forms that these authors are making up is putting a bright point in my day, and a smile on my face.  Whether you choose fantasy or travel or biography or cooking or tabloids or sudoku, I’d suggest that we don’t forget to just read for fun sometimes!

    (and I’m excited about book club, too!  thanks!!)

    1. Amy Young January 7, 2015

      T! I agree completely! Reading should be fun (with an occasional push to read something different … not pushing with an occasional fun)! I have to force myself to read most fiction (even though I know it’s good for me, my soul, and even my brain) but I naturally flock to non-fiction :). I will have to give that series you suggested a try. I’ve been listening to a podcast for writers of fantasy (which is hilarious since I don’t read it), but I think I could grow as a writer by learning about other genres — it’s been fun listening to them talk about all that goes into world building and they are so enthusiastic! I did enjoy Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. 

      1. T January 7, 2015

        funny about the podcast being fantasy writers–but, yes, the absolute living with the development of their next book or series for years and years before writing the book would give any writer something to think about!  😉  and that also makes me think a bit about how I am often living in 3 different worlds at the same time…the not yet, the usa, and here.   then, if i’m actually really into the book i’m reading (which i find it very easy to be) that puts a 4th world in there!  no wonder i need a lot of sleep!  🙂  ps, amy, you’re a dear for commenting on our comments so much!

  6. S January 6, 2015

    and when I fell is a super book….I have been looking forward to book club discussions  this month!

    1. Amy Young January 7, 2015

      S … glad you can pop in and out while on Home Assignment! Stay warm in KS! 🙂

  7. Monica January 6, 2015

    I read, “As Soon As I Fell” at the start of our Sabbatical in the Fall. I am very excited to join this discussion.  This book touched me in so many ways- particular the first part… can’t wait to ‘get into it’!

    1. Amy Young January 7, 2015

      The first part!!! Oh good … will look forward to your thoughts and comments next week 🙂

  8. Kimberly Todd January 6, 2015

    I’m a fan of Eric Metaxas as a biographer. We couldn’t do our annual read of “Squanto” this year because it went missing at the library, and I must have handed off our copy before we left China. Happy to know about William Wilberforce.

    1. Amy Young January 7, 2015

      Did he write Squanto? If so, I’ll need to check it out … I enjoyed Bonhoeffer and now that I’ve told you all, I will enjoy Wilberforce :)!

    2. Amy Young January 7, 2015

      (It’s on my kindle … and I find I buy books and never read them on kindle. So, I wanted some public accountability! Didn’t mean to make it sound like I was dreading it. I’m just not a fan of kindle reading!)

  9. Lauren Pinkston January 6, 2015

    I bought Kay’s memoir as a Christmas gift to myself–really looking forward to it!

    Amy, I have many Eric Metaxas biographies on my list, as well! I read Bonhoeffer this fall and it fascinated me. Now I’m reading a memoir by Jessica Alexander titled Chasing Chaos: My Decade in and out of Humanitarian Aid. It’s a colorful story, but I’m really enjoying the peek inside major INGO employment.

    And I’m sure many gals here have read Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider, but it was another fabulous read from 2014!

    1. Amy Young January 7, 2015

      What a fun gift to give yourself! I’ve just read Bonhoeffer and hadn’t realized (until reading these comments) he’d written other things. So many good books out there, eh?  And the Tsh one is on my list … may need to bump it up! I hadn’t hear of Chasing Chaos but it sounds like a good one to read!!

  10. Brittany January 7, 2015

    I seriously have to be the least cultured, least read person in this book club!  Lol.  Honestly, reading is such a struggle for me!  I have a long list of books that I want to read this year (some that I have to read, but most that I want to), but we’ll see how it goes.  I always make a reading list for the year and by the end of the year, they certainly aren’t all marked off, but for me to read ANY books is a goal met.  Every time when I sit down to read, I fall asleep a couple of pages in–without fail.  It has always been this way, otherwise, I’d like to blame it on being a sleep deprived mama!

    My OneWord for this year is “Focus” and so I’ve been very purposeful in the books that I’ve chosen to read for the year–ones that will encourage me in the areas of focus this year.  This month’s book club book certainly falls into that category and I am very much looking forward to reading it!

    1. Amy Young January 7, 2015

      Oh Brittany, this is one of my fears, that people who aren’t the biggest readers will think that’s bad. It’s not! You’re probably amazing at sewing and crafting and cooking and running marathons and juggling real balls! My dad didn’t become a reader until much latter in life and I think part of it was reading was my mom’s thing and he didn’t think he could do it as well as she could. Thankfully, reading isn’t about a contest or amount. It’s about another vehicle to learning, connecting, relaxing, or growing.

      I want all of the “not so into reading” people to also feel welcome here! And I’m not saying you’re not so into reading … but it’s so of the enemy to trick us into thinking books are only for some and to use reading and books to create distance and foster and “us and them” mentality.


      I LOVE your word is focus :)! And they ways it’s helping you to know what books to read and what to pass on guilt free!

  11. Anne Dahlhauser January 8, 2015

    I’m new around here, and I’m loving this site and all you ladies have done to foster support and community among women in ministry. My husband and I are M’s in the USA, which isn’t the same as “overseas” but definitely has its own challenges/joys. Anyway, I read Kay’s book recently and did a book review on it! I loved the book. Looking forward to discussing it here!

    Book Review:


  12. Amy Ludwig January 16, 2015

    I have only done short term trips overseas, but am exploring the field of Member Care. I’ve been doing my share of reading about it, and came across Kay Bruner’s memoir As soon as I fell. I kept finding excuses to sit down and read it, folding down pages I thought had to do with Member Care (where it was appreciated, needed, etc. – which ended up being quite a number of pages!) The words that keep coming to mind when I explain the book to others is: brave and beautiful. My prayer is that her memoir will lead to much needed discussions, understanding, and healing.

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