A debut spiritual autobiography reflects on a life of challenging trials.
After she suffered an injury that compelled her to take time off from work, Shepherd was inspired to write an account of her life, which was plagued by adversity. At a young age, she was preoccupied with philosophical questions regarding the nature of her existence, and during a lonely childhood she sought refuge in a precocious spiritual calling. In her early teens, Shepherd would spend afternoons in her mother’s closet devoted to prayer; it was well known that if you wanted to find her, that’s where you looked. Later, she moved to Boston to stay with her grandmother because she was an avid churchgoer, but the author was discomfited by her church’s moral libertinism. Shepherd became pregnant, and had no choice but to return home to New York; her father then died only a month after she arrived. The remainder of her adult life was marred by unrelenting travails: her baby’s father refused to accept responsibility for his child, and Shepherd was reduced to seeking welfare. She became pregnant a second time, and her older sister forced her to have an abortion (the precise nature of the coercion is never clear). A nefarious pastor tried to arrange an ill-conceived relationship for her. Her house burned down; she was involved in a physically debilitating car accident; and her son was sent to jail for life for a crime she says he did not commit. Through it all, she found strength and solace in her faith, and the entire account is dotted with references to the Bible, with brief reflections on scattered passages. The author’s optimism is both inexhaustible and inspiring, and every page is a testament to her religious tenacity. But the prose is muddled and confusing, and often riddled with typographical and grammatical errors: “A good parent will love their child regards to their many of mistakes, I want say that that when they continue to disobey our words and rules that we are happy, but we try whatever it will take to make things right with that child and sometimes, we get side track, because the weight seems so hard, that you may find it more easier, to just throw in the towel.” As a result, the book is often difficult to understand, and the timeline of events presented remains obscure.
An inspirational memoir undermined by messy writing.