Kirkus Reviews QR Code


Sex, Sacrifice, Sacrament: A Memoir of Four Years at Yale

by Elizabeth Carroll Trang

Pub Date: June 29th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1475042030
Publisher: CreateSpace

Trang’s debut memoir relates her four years at Yale Divinity School, where she examined the sacraments, sacrifice and sex within the tenets of Christianity.

Writing from “the perspective of someone sitting in the classroom,” Trang intends her story for not only religious scholars and pastors behind the pulpit, but for lay and nonreligious readers as well. With effortless grace and delicious humor, the book traces the author’s course load and the exchanges she has with her professors, whom she affectionately renames after desserts—Professors PoundCake, BakedAlaska, GingerSnap, RhubarbCrumble, etc. But Trang is ever serious and respectful in her desire “to learn to think..., to pray..., to live like these people.” Trang enters Yale with big questions about the efficacy of a priest committing himself to a life of celibacy and the outrageousness of a sacrament where a priest stands for Christ at the altar and says, “This is my body..., This is my blood....” And then there is the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit problem,” a space of being “in-between” the “already and the not yet”—not unlike that of the sexual act and the bearing of a child. As Trang enthusiastically yet steadily works her way through the catechism of the Catholic Church, Holy Scripture and Aristotle’s Poetics under the guidance of Professors SnickerDoodle, PeachCobbler, KeyLimePie and others, her knowledge organically coalesces, unravels, reassembles, expands and contracts. Struggling with the tedious, vast and complex puzzle of faith and often finding God dwelling in her fellow humans, Trang’s spirit never wavers while investigating the curiosities and delights of her faith.

A refreshingly rebellious exploration of Christianity that is well-written, thoughtful and totally unpretentious.