Wry, self-deprecating memoirist King (Parched, 2005) explores her conversion to Catholicism.
The author should have had everything she could want. After 20 years on the bottle, she was finally sober, with “a tremendous sense of having been delivered from the brink.” She’d found a decent man, though her marriage felt stale. She was a newly minted lawyer—too bad she hated her dead-end job. In short, she was primed for a spiritual experience. One day she attended mass at a nearby Catholic church. To her surprise, she found that at St. Basil’s she “felt Christ in the core of my being.” Jesus did not want people to suffer more, she discovered; rather, he acknowledged the profound suffering in every human life. King ultimately joined the church—and started sleeping with a glow-in-the-dark rosary—but she didn’t become perfect. Indeed, she spends a lot of time airing her faults: her tendency to hoard money, her less-than-perfect relationship with her sister, her petty resentment of her husband’s devotion to Buddhist meditation, her boundless need for affirmation. Her book also has some faults, in particular a chapter about the Church’s views on gender roles and premarital sex that belongs in another, less personal text. Overall, however, this is funny, sharp stuff laced with real insight, such as King’s insistence that when tragedies like Katrina occur, most of the time the right question is “not where was God, but where was I?” Her journey to Catholicism was accompanied by another journey—she quit her law firm and began to write. So this is really the story of two callings—to faith, and to a life’s work—and most writers will relate to King’s delightfully over-the-top discussions of her chosen profession’s terrors.
A riveting, warts-and-all depiction of a lost soul found.