This probably goes without saying, but the post ahead contains spoilers for Jen Fulwiler's new book. If you haven't read it yet and don't want to read any excerpts, turn away now.
I received my copy of Jen Fulwiler's Something Other Than God the day after it was released, but I waited until Mother's Day to read it. I assumed that once I started reading I would not want to put it down, and I knew that Mother's Day was my best bet for a block of several hours of free time for sitting and reading.
As it turns out, I was right on both counts. I had a wonderful, lazy Mother's Day, the greater part of which I laid in bed and read Something Other Than God. I finished the entire book in one sitting because it was just that good.
I've read Jen's blog, ConversionDiary.com, for quite a long time. I can't remember exactly when I found it, but it was probably around 2007 or so. I know I only had one kid when I started reading her blog, anyway. I think we were still in North Dakota at the time. I remember getting quite excited when she said that she was writing a book -- I didn't realize I'd have four more kids on earth by the time it came out (and neither did she, I'm sure)! I'm looking forward to getting my copy autographed at The Edel Gathering this summer.
I laughed hardest during this exchange, on page 112:
Joe poked his head in to ask a question, and at the sound of his voice I banged on the keyboard to close browser windows again. "It's just me", he assured me. "You surfing Jesus sites again?"I empathized with her story (page 203) of trying to work on computer code with a squirming baby in her lap, only to have hours of work destroyed by an errant tiny hand swiping at the keyboard.
"No. I was looking at porn. I swear!"
I gasped audibly when she was told at the pharmacy that there were no record of her previous $30 transactions (page 233). I got goosebumps, too.
I cried at this part, on page 235:
My mom had something else in her hand, a piece of white fabric. "I wanted you to have this." She handed me a triangular cut of delicate lace with scalloped edges. "It's my chapel veil. From when I was a kid."There were many parts in this book where I became choked up, but the above excerpt was when the tears began to fall. Maybe it was because Elanor just had her First Holy Communion, I don't know. But for some reason her mother's gift moved me immensely. I was awed that her religious life had come full circle, from a baptism done solely to keep the grandparents happy to a voluntary conversion some thirty-odd years later, and her mother's gift seemed to cement that. God willing, the grace my kids received at their baptisms will help keep them in the Church, or help bring them back to it if they choose to leave at some point.
To sum up: fantastic book. Buy it, read it, share it with your friends! You won't be sorry.
Also, I love the epigram. "All that we call human history... [is] the long terrible story of a man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy." - C.S. Lewis