Lauren F. Winner is a writer whose fans expect a certain level of candor. She let us in on her steps from Judaism to Christianity in Girl Meets God. She made a practical, purposeful stand for chastity in Real Sex. Much like her contemporaries, Donald Miller and Anne Lamott, Winner knows how to write Christian memoir-ish books that appeal to everyone without glossing over the less than graceful moments. Her latest offering, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, is no exception.
In Still, Winner shares about the tumbling that she took on her spiritual walk following tragic losses (most notably, the death of her mother and her subsequent divorce). It’s the story of how she regained the footing of her faith. Think of it as a domesticated Eat Pray Love -- only far less glamorous and much more relatable. Her preface says it all:
This is a book about God moving away at the same time that God took away the ground. First goes this. Then goes this. Gone are mother, marriage, the confidence of conversion. Then a small light dots the dark hills. And then two.
As a reader, you walk with Winner as she details all of her detours and derailments. You sit beside her as she makes the acquaintance of loneliness and recognizes the best way to deal with anxiety is to keep it at bay for 15 minutes at a time. You understand her sentiments when a friend comes to bless Winner's home and she says that she'd prefer an exorcism instead. You feel like you relearn the art and gift of prayer with her. Essentially, you get a real sense of what Winner went through, entirely because she allows you to. Her writing is soft and vulnerable, yet blunt and veracious.
Speaking of words like “veracious”, Winner doesn’t let you forget in all her girl-next-door that she is a college professor. While Still is very much an easy book to understand, readers might want to keep a dictionary handy. You’ll encounter a few new words that you rarely hear in conversation. However, it’s nothing you can’t keep up with. Her Notes are truly notes. Chapters are concise and sometimes just a few paragraphs of a thought or revelation as though she’s jotting them down as they come to her.
If you’re a lover of books like Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott or any other writers who are not afraid to unveil their imperfections in hopes of finding kindred spirits, then take this walk with Winner. You may find yourself in the pages right alongside her.
Also, learn more about the author at LaurenWinner.net.