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

nfp-coverSimcha Fisher’s new The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning is the most refreshing and honest work on NFP I’ve ever read. In easy prose that’s at times laugh-out-loud funny, Fisher has the courage to face the true ups and down of using NFP as a Catholic couple — both the joys that come from marital chastity and the fact that sometimes, when you want to have sex and need to abstain, it kinda sucks.

The book is divided into three sections. In the first, “NFP and the Spiritual Life,” Fisher outlines important spiritual considerations of the Church’s teachings on marital love. In the second, “NFP and the Rest of the World,” she deals with the counter-cultural implications of NFP. But the final and longest section, “NFP in the Trenches,” is the real meat of the book, where Fisher takes a brutally honest look at what it means to put the Church’s teachings into practice. Fisher is not afraid to tackle difficult and rarely-discussed aspects of martial sexuality and should be commended for finding safe ground between frankness and explicitness.

As a husband I can also say that the book is “guy-friendly”; while much of the advice is clearly directed towards wives, it never turns flowery or overly emotional in a way that might turn of committed Catholic men, and I recommend that husbands and wives read the book together.

The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning is an outstanding contribution to the Catholic conversation on marital sexuality and I heartily recommend it.