Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I've Loved
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.