Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Girl Meets God by Lauren F. Winner

It is really hard to believe, but until about a month or two ago I didn't really know Eva at all, and now, here we are doing a buddy review together! This is actually the second half of the review, so to get the whole idea you have to go over to Eva's blog, A Striped Armchair, first! It was a lot of fun to do this in dialogue!

Yeah-her whole 'let me tell you how I organise my books' felt like an exercise in showing off. I mean, I revel in obscure academia stuff too, but I don't think that makes me better than anyone. As far as losing her friends due to her conversion, I can understand why she lost some of her Orthodox friends, since that's a pretty extreme form of Judaism and since she was a convert to that already, I get the kind of "I took her in and then she turned out to be faking it" reaction. That was the most convoluted sentence ever-sorry! I find it interesting that she's only attracted to the 'uber' practices of religion.

Kelly: I know. I will never get the stricter religions, but that's just me. I really felt like she was often questioning Christianity, too. I wouldn't be surprised if she wound up switching religions again. She really didn't seem very sure of herself at times. Maybe she does the more extreme so that she can prove to people that she is
serious? The thing that got me is that she was so extreme in some things, but then there are times when she has to confess her sexual infractions and she is not so angelic then! I really felt like even though we were supposedly getting inside her head, a lot of it was just an act. Maybe if she had been older when she wrote this book it would've been different? I can't put my finger on exactly what bothered me, I guess.

Eva: I think maybe stricter religions are better [for her] because they offer more guidelines and structure. Does that make sense? It seems like religion is very important to her, and the more extreme versions probably provide more to delve into as well! Once I finished this book, I looked her up and she's written another book about chastity for Christians. I took was taken aback when she mentioned having sex as part of her confessions. Since it hadn't come up before (and there'd been plenty of opportunities-and she was willing to discuss her friend's affair), it made me wonder what else she was hiding! This felt less like a personal memoir than an intellectual exercise-perhaps that's why I wasn't able to connect with her.

That being said, I'm still curious about her chastity book!

Kelly: She wrote a chastity book? Wow, that's rather interesting, I must say! Apparently she had some problems with that, so maybe she changed drastically in the few years since this book came out. I am actually pretty curious, too. Another thing for me was that I couldn't relate to her. I thought I would at least for her love of books, and there were moments, but generally I wasn't all that interested in her.
I think I read this book in the end more because she brought up some interesting ideas than anything else. It gives me a starting point if I want to read any more on the topics she addresses.

So, why do you think she wrote this book in the first place?

Eva: Yeah-I think it was published in 2007. I'll probably end up reading it out of pure curiousity. :)

I'm not sure why she wrote the book. I think because she likes herself? That's awful sounding, isn't it? But I think she wanted to write about the intellectual issues that matter to her. What do you say?

Kelly: Pretty much the same. I am sure she had a 'higher' purpose, but I missed it apparently. I guess it just goes to show you that no one is perfect!

The only thing I want to talk about before I finish up is what did you think when she tried to track down the house of the woman that wrote the Mitford series? I have to admit I enjoyed that scene...

Eva: I enjoyed it too! And it was one of the more personal, candid moments in the book! I think I've talked more about the negatives than the positives in the book. I think her discussions of Judaism had a lot of warmth, and she really conveyed to me her passion for religion. So I'm not sorry to have read this-I think I got things out of it! I simply expected Winner to be different, more like me, and I
think that's why I had a hard time settling into the book. Any last words from you?

Kelly: I overall didn't mind reading it, either. There were some things that I didn't like at all, but I did learn a lot. I really didn't know what to expect, either, because I don't read a lot of memoirs with a religious nature.

Eva: I didn't know what to expect either! She's not the kind of Christian I could ever see myself being (in fact, she was quite nasty when writing about progressive Christianity, which is the only style that makes any sense to me), but it's good to get a variety of view points!


  1. I read this book a long time ago, but I remember really enjoying it. I can't speak to the author's brand of Christianity other than to say I wasn't bothered by it. I was very interested in her journey.

  2. I can't believe we've just gotten to know each other too! :)

  3. Interesting review! Sounds like one could go either way on this book: either love it or hate it. I might check it out just to see where I fall...

  4. Pretty sure this simply isn't a book for me, but that's okay, right? What I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED was this review! It was fantastic, and I couldn't have enjoyed the style of it more!

    Okay, now I'm going to go copy and paste this into Eva's comments. ;)

  5. I just commented on Eva's post, but wanted to pipe in here and say that Winner's book on chastity is about the only halfway intelligent book I've ever read on the topic. (It's far from perfect, but the rest of the literature out there is AWFUL.)

    She actually caused a bit of a scandal in the evangelical world by opening stating in a Christianity Today article that she new many single Christians who were having sex. She didn't name names or anything; her intention, I believe, was to show that the current teaching on the subject was not having any effect.

    As far as why she wrote the book, I could imagine she was trying to be a new voice in the world of evangelical writing. Her honesty really was a breath of fresh air when this book came out.

  6. I love how you two set this up as a conversation- very well done :-) Pretty sure I won't be picking this book up at all, but I found your review entertaining, at least!

  7. Very interesting review, ladies! I loved the format, and I have to say, I think I might have a tough time relating to Winner, too. The book still sounds like something I might dip into, though.


  8. I still haven't really got an idea what this book is about after reading the reviews more closely, but this has got nothing to do with both your review and Eva's. Both of you did a great job with the format.

  9. I think what is say is why I don't normally like memoirs at all: they all like themselves too much!

    I'm glad in the end you didn't mind this book!

  10. Just came over from Eva's blog. I like this dual reviewers format! It was interesting seeing both your point of views on this book!

    It's nice to discover a new blog in this way :-).

  11. As I just commented at Eva's, I read this several years ago and really enjoyed it. I also read the chastity book but didn't like it nearly so much. I think this one was the one that started my love of Christian memoirs, despite not being the religious sort.

  12. Literate Housewife: I have a hard time talking about religion on my blog. I don't want to say the wrong thing because I am very much not an expert on the subject at all!

    Eva: It's working out good, though. :)

    Melissa: I read it all for curiousity. It was worth it, though.

    Debi: I am glad you enjoyed the review style! One day you have to review a book with me!

    Teresa: Thanks for the information. I checked the library and they don't have her other book, but I will see if I can get it through ILL. You have me curious now.

    Aarti: It is not for everyone. Thanks!

    Andi: I hope you do give it a try. It is not my normal read, but I am glad that I read it.

    Alice: Sorry you don't know what the book is about Alice, but thanks for the compliment!

    Rebecca: lol, I know, she was a big fan of herself!

    Valerie: Welcome. I will have to check out your blog now!

    Lisa: I can see myself reading other Christian memoirs after this one, too.


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