Book Review: The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning by Simcha Fisher


I just finished reading Simcha Fisher’s book, The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning.

I laughed so hard. I somberly nodded my head in agreement. Michael and I read several chapters together and discussed them.

The thing is, there’s not much truth in advertising when it comes to NFP. Well, maybe that’s not true. It’s just that you won’t find many people willing to say it out loud about how hard it is. Yes, there are great benefits to your marriage, but as Fisher points out many times throughout the book, they aren’t automatic and they don’t come easily.

We really appreciate this kind of honesty. It is encouraging to hear how tough it is because then we don’t feel like we’re somehow more screwed up than all the other sinners out there. And it’s comforting to hear that the benefits really are there. Because sometimes I really wonder.

If I were ever to teach a class on NFP, I think this would be required reading. Because what you don’t need is the couple who never struggles at all & never gets pregnant “at the stupidest times” (as Fisher says), telling you how wonderful it is, and how easy it is, and that if its not easy for you, you’re the problem.

This book was good for my heart. It made me see that it’s ok to struggle. And her chapter on how to help your husband? Well, it was absolutely brilliant.

But one of the most important chapters to me personally was, “How to Ruin Your Marriage with NFP.” Yes, you read that right. Fishers sarcasm really helps me. (I like sarcasm. If you cant appreciate sarcasm, maybe it’s not the best book for you.) In this chapter, she gives a step by step instruction manual to ruining your marriage. And I definitely saw in this section some things I am doing that I need to change. But she points these things out in a way that allows you to laugh at yourself at the same time you commit to doing better.

She helped me take my eyes off myself & think more of my husband.

She had a nice little rant in the “What about the Woman?” Chapters which resonated so strongly, and then flipped it so I had to take my eyes off myself again.

Is it too much that I want to buy this book for every Catholic couple I know? Probably.

I have been scolded before for groaning about how difficult this is. Why? Because it might make people not want to practice NFP? They will find out for themselves soon enough. People don’t practice NFP because its easy, though.

Simcha Fisher’s book recognizes this and is so very comforting while being so very challenging. I think this book will make the Catholic world a better place: less judge-y, less self-centered, and more sacrificial. Go get yo’self a copy, please.

One comment

  1. […] counting Kristen Lavransdatter as three, and that would make my total 5). Kristen Lavransdatter, The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning, and Without Roots.  This year, I’m going to set some more ambitious reading goals. And I […]

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