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READ: Review, Engaging Today’s Prodigal by Carol Barnier

Posted by on December 3, 2013 in Read | 4 comments

EngagingProdigalMy blog has been prodigal of late. Looming deadlines, a busy travel schedule, and a week without our home Internet server have all taken their toll. So I’m especially  glad to share with you a blog I tried to post some time ago.

At one time or another, we’ve all lived as prodigals. And chances are, if we’re parents, we’ve parented one or more prodigals, too. In other words, most of us could benefit from reading Engaging Today’s Prodigal: Clear Thinking, New Approaches, and Reasons for Hope (Moody, 2012) by Carol Barnier.

As the author points out in the book’s opening pages, prodigal doesn’t mean what most of think. We tend to view a prodigal as a wild, rebellious sinner. Instead, the word itself means extravagant or lavish. So Engaging Today’s Prodigal provides parents the hope and practical help parents need to deal with a child of any age who defines his life outside of faith-parameters. Such a lack of boundaries can lead to a variety of prodigal actions and wounds on both sides of the parent-child (or sibling-sibling) equation.

The strength of this book lies in Carol’s clear, compassionate, and no-nonsense approach. She uses her own experience as a prodigal (a pastor’s daughter, she was a young adult atheist for 13 years) along with wisdom from both the Bible and her own parenting journey to inform, advise, and educate those who long to build rather than burn bridges.

In the first section of the book, the author takes time to debunk several myths related to engaging prodigals. She places each myth alongside the truth of Scripture and gives plenty of practical application along the way. Next, she offers an entire section of Dos and Don’ts for those in relationship with prodigals, contrasting conventional wisdom with more biblical, practical advice.

Most families of prodigals don’t want pat answers. They’re tired of hand-holding and meaningless platitudes. Carol offers none of these. And although her words often carry the sting of Holy Spirit conviction, they also provide the truth parents and others who love prodigals need to live in freedom no matter the stage or progression of their journey.

NOTE: This isn’t a Christmas read per se. But it would make a great gift for someone you know who needs some straight talk, peace, and power.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not asked or required to post a positive review.


Have you parented a prodigal? Have you been one yourself? Feel free to share your comments or, if you’ve read the book, any of your own thoughts. And watch for my Words with Friends interview with author Carol Barnier, coming later this week.

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Find this book on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, at Christian Book Distributors, or at Deeper Shopping


  1. I met Carol at a homeschool convention here in El Paso and her workshops really changed my entire perspective on both my sizzle-bop kids and my faith in Christ. I learned to celebrate my kids differences and work to their need rather than try to fit them into a pattern. And I let go off the guilt when I walked away from my faith. I’m really looking forward to reading this book, dealing with a prodigal…or two…of my own right now.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Angie. How fun that you’ve already met and been blessed by Carol! She is a fresh voice in the homeschool community and has great advice for us all. I know you’ll love this book!

  2. She is amazing and so down to earth. I loved that she made herself available to sit down and talk to me. She ahelped me find the balance between the gap In my children’s behavior, from extremely hyper to extremely docile. I have two of her books but If I’m Diapering the Watermelon Then Where’d I Leave the Baby? was really the best help for me. It’s for highly distractable moms. There…now you know something else about me!

    • Again, thanks for the comment, Angie. Something else about Carol: she’s a Word Weaver as I am. Maybe you need to find a WW group in west Texas!


  1. WRITE: Words with Friends: Author Carol Barnier | Marti Pieper - […] friend and author Carol Barnier to my Words with Friends feature. Earlier this week, I posted this review of…

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