Friday, May 02, 2014

Seven Quick Takes Friday

1. I just finished the new auto biography by Jennifer Fulwiler, and loved it. I went to check her blog at Conversion Diary and decided to join in the Seven Quick Takes Friday, which is her brainchild. Seven is great number for me, and I sure have seven things to say about the book. I've posted a few thoughts on Facebook during my reading and I have friends already asking for a review.

2. Book cover:

 3. She finished off the book leaving the reader in cloud nine. No, life isn't perfect. But the interior life can be complete, and peaceful. As a reader I cannot but ponder on my own Catholic journey: being a cradle Catholic and growing up immerse in the privilege and grace of educated, authentic Catholic parents. I've always loved my faith and prayed much as a child. If I sin, it has always been in the full knowledge that what I was doing was wrong--and to this day I leave the confessional in tears, eternally grateful for God's mercy.  

4.  Jennifer's drawing:

5.  I wonder if I would have her courage as she faced the doctor about contraception. I've been there--holding a newborn in the hospital only to be asked "what are you going to do about birth control?" by a loud nurse practitioner. It always sounded to me like an ugly "what are you doing to avoid having another one of these?" and all I wanted was to send them away and free my room and my baby from being immersed too soon in the contraceptive mentality, the Culture of Death, as coined by Saint John Paul II. Jennifer faced the doctor the way she should: she told him she was entering the Catholic Church, and found the doctor to be incredibly respectful and helpful. I too found positive, even praising responses, from medical professionals over the fact that I've never, and never would, take a birth control pill--they know too well how healthy it is to stay away from those--but I didn't have Jennifer's super serious health issues hanging over my head. 
6. Her Seven Quick Takes graphic.

7. My Amazon review: 
I just finished the new auto biography by Jennifer Fulwiler, and loved it. The FedEx truck dropped it off in the middle of the day and I haven't been able to put it down.
The book is friendly and funny. It's never preachy or arrogant. She comes across as a wonderful, amusing, sincere and humble person. Even when she describes her first prayers, she is funny, light, and yet the whole scene is true and genuine as prayer can be. She tells the story of going from completely ignorant of everything and anything Christian--and being sort of proud of that--to someone who allows herself to wonder, "could this be true?", to a very well-read, authentic Catholic--to the point of risking her life to live her newfound Church's teachings.
Jennifer is likable. I love auto biographies and biographies but, well, the subjects are not all likable. I read a while ago a biography of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and one of Picasso, and I discovered men I neither liked nor respected. But even a conversion biography is not always likable. I respected Dorothy Day in The Long Loneliness, but I can't say I liked her. Jennifer, on the contrary, is like someone with whom you want to have a coffee, or a margarita, and talk and laugh together!
The book is written as a novel, chapters beginning in wonderfully told vignettes, their story so interesting and well-written, and so very good. A story of sincere people who, through life's difficulties, and despite of them, look for Love, Goodnesss, and Truth. And find them, because as the book says, if you sincerely look for these, you find them.
This is a good book. There is so much discussion of what makes a book good. This is one. A book that tells a great story, and so well, entertains, delivers the best closing you ever ask of a story--a true happy ending--, and leaves you a better person.
The best part? Probably her apologizing to her Mother, all that took for that step, and finding, in the mystery of asking for forgiveness, the Peace she never dreamed existed. I so loved that. But there were also so many other good parts. The whole book was excellent! I want to read it again!

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