I read it as soon as I could find it in Barnes and Noble. I just sat in the Starbucks at the store and read the whole thing. It’s a disappointing book in a lot of ways; she seems to be lost, wandering around in a fog, and drags all of us along with her. She’s a lovely writer, of course, and a lot of people try to imitate her and fail. But Still felt like she had just churned it out in the depths of her sadness after her divorce, although the book was carefully organized. And I understand how that kind of writing can be attractive for a lot of people. There’s too little lament or ‘dark night of the soul’ stories from women’s perspectives, and so I was really looking forward to reading the book. It never delivered anything of substance.
I remember reading this review on Amazon after I finished the book; it is kind of devastating. If I wrote a book that I cared about and got a review like that, I would probably cry in my bed and just eat ice cream for days.
But the reviewer brings up a lot of good points. The more important among them is that Winner never really takes responsibility for what happened to her marriage. She doesn’t necessarily owe us the answers, of course, but if you want to write a memoir about how God left then you kind of need to say why. Why did her marriage fall apart? She just says she left one day. How does her marriage falling apart connect to what she says about marriage and sex in Real Sex? What can people who struggle with anxiety like she does learn from her? She talks a lot about Hauerwas and Sam Wells. I recognized some of the priests she names too. But in naming all these names and writing so beautifully about books, she didn’t say what she learned from her mother’s death and her divorce. It’s just books and beautiful gems like
Some days I am not sure if my faith is riddled with doubt or whether, graciously, my doubt is riddled with faith. And yet I continue to live in a world the way a religious person lives in the world; I keep living in a world that I know to be enchanted, and not left alone. I doubt; I am uncertain; I am restless, prone to wander. And yet glimmers of holy keep interrupting my gaze.
I mean, seriously? I want to write like that. She’s obviously really smart and she has a great job at Duke and I respect her accomplishments. I was just disappointed in the book.