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Right now I’m reading Not That Kind of Girl, a memoir by Carlene Bauer that released in hardback last year from HarperCollins (it just came out in paperback this summer). It tells Carlene’s story of a childhood in evangelical churches, only to slowly grow out of that faith in college, then to convert to Catholicism in her twenties in New York, and then to lose her faith altogether. Carlene’s a fantastic and literate storyteller, and it’s shaping up to be an excellent book about doubt and faith and books and religion and music.
A sample from chapter 2, “The Age of Reason”:
The Israelites had their Pillar of Cloud that led them during the night as they wandered through the desert, and I saw that I would have a little cloud of skepticism, made of radio static, that would keep me from straying onto the fanatic’s path. I would not mention this cloud, or the questions and objections it consisted of, to other Christians. Christianity, I could see, demanded more of you than God might really want, and I had a feeling that if I did say any of this aloud to other Christians, they would call my skepticism sin. I had never heard anything in church to make me think otherwise.
[p. 19, Not That Kind of Girl]
Look for Carlene to make a few more appearances here over the next few months — including an interview and guest post. In the meantime, I’ll be finishing the book and wondering why such a well-written and evocative memoir about faith didn’t get much publicity in the Christian subculture.
(One obvious answer, of course, is that we don’t like losing-faith memoirs, and much prefer tales of conversion rather than de-conversion.)