Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MEMOIRS OF A SPIRITUAL OUTSIDER by Suzanne Clores

MEMOIRS OF A SPIRITUAL OUTSIDER

By Suzanne Clores

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 1-57324-172-5

A superficial account of a New York writer’s superficial spiritual quest.

Twenty-something recovering-Catholic Clores has tried out wicca, shamanism, yoga, Buddhism, Sufism, and Vodou. For her, the journey is as much a part of spiritual life as the destination—and if her journey has a few more stops along the road than most, so much the better. The author does not just limit herself to accounts of her own yoga stretches and sage-burning; she also introduces readers to the folks she meets along the way (like Arianna, a velvet-clad Latina witch who explains that once upon a time the whole world worshipped the Goddess, that black magic does exist, and that becoming a witch can take a very long time). Then there’s also a yoga instructor named Uma, who at 23 decided that yoga provided better answers to the spiritual questions she’d been asking than dropping acid at Grateful Dead concerts. On a journey to Vodou land, Clores also meets Donna, a 28-year-old black woman who embraced Catholicism, Vodou, and the Nation of Islam. Posing as a journalist and detailing all of these other spiritual journeys prevents the author from rolling up her sleeves and grappling with the messy underbelly of her own quest. But if she fails to provide any real insight into herself, she does convincingly make the point that she is not alone: spiritual seeking (and leaping from one tradition to another) is characteristic of Gen-Xers. In the concluding chapter, Clores confesses that she has often been hesitant to talk about her spiritual journey because she senses that spirituality is “a deeply personal, private matter that shouldn’t be discussed openly.”

Readers may well will wish that, in Clores’s case, reticence had triumphed here.