Compulsive Overreader

Along with borderline hypergraffia, my other literary disorder is -- I'm a compulsive overreader. I'd like to say that I'm trying to get it under control, but I'm clearly not. Check out the archives here to find what I'm reading and what I think of it. If you came here directly through blogger --if your page has no yellow frames and no pretty pic of me in the top left corner -- you may want to visit my main site at, where you can read this blog and much much more.


I'm Trudy Morgan-Cole, a writer from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. My books include "The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson," "Esther: A Story of Courage," and "Deborah and Barak." I'm also a married mom of two, a teacher in an adult-ed program, and a Christian of the Seventh-day Adventist kind. I blog about writing, reading, parenting, teaching, spirituality, and shiny things that catch my eye.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Confessions of an Amateur Believer, by Patty Kirk (LentBook #2)

Patty Kirk's first book is my latest discovery in another of my favourite genres: memoirs by women about their spiritual journeys. My best-loved authors in this genre are Anne Lamott (of course), Nora Gallagher, and Lauren Winner. Patty Kirk's voice didn't leap off the page and grab me as quickly and securely as any of those authors' voices did, but as I got into this collection of essays, I felt like I was getting to know the author and enjoying her unrelentingly honest portrayal of her journey through faith.

I think I know why I like books like these. Like many people growing up in evangelical churches, I had a lot of exposure when I was young to conversion stories, both written and preached, in which a person's life before they come to faith is a terrible mess and then they accept Jesus. And like "they married and lived happily ever after" at the end of a fairy tale, "I accepted Jesus and lived happily ever after" is the end of a testimony.

Except that in real life, it's not: it's the beginning of a journey. I love books that explore the ups and downs of the journey that begins after you kneel at the foot of the cross (I also love memoirs like this from faiths other than Christianity, although I haven't found as many as I'd like). Patty Kirk does have a conversion story -- she grew up in a Catholic family, left God and church behind and lived much of her adult life as an atheist, then converted to her Baptist husband's evangelical Christianity. But that story is told in the margins of the central theme of this book: what it's like to live day by day as a struggling, doubting, hoping Christian wife, mother, teacher and writer. Kirk's essays are thought-provoking, insightful, sometimes funny, and above all, honest.


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