A very enjoyable read about a nun who enters the convent at a very young age and then struggles miserably for seven years and leaves. She enters Oxford but still struggles, seemingly with mental illness, later diagnosed epilepsy. She shares her story of faith to atheism and back to faith again. This one came highly recommended by a friend and I'm glad she told me to read it. 4 stars.
If hope and faith are grounded on belief in doctrine, what happens when belief begins to crumble?
Armstrong struggles with this question and more with a recounting of the four decades of her adult spiritual life, starting in the tumult of the sixties and bringing us to the tumult of the post-9/11 world. During this time, she explores the importance of belief, doctrine, obedience, and hope in matters of faith, juxtaposing her Christian experience with personal discoveries she garnishes from Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam -- All this before the haunting backdrop of the words of T S Eliot, "Because I do not hope to turn gain / I do not hope..." (Ash Wednesday 1) Armstrong recounts her fall from faith, her climb from a personal darkness, her loss of hope, and how she later reclaimed it, becoming a world-renown religious scholar in the process.
I did not exactly find this book "unputdownable", as one of the reviews inside the cover claims. I expected it to have more theological discussion, but she doesn't get into that until the last few chapters.
You do not have to have enjoyed, or even read, Karen Armstrong's books on theology to find some meaning in this tale of her life after leaving the convent. I personally found her search for meaning very helpful-it resonates with me. She struggled to overcome her years in the convent but discovered those years have profoundly shaped her and let her become what she is today.
I enjoyed the book very much! I was a nun for 21 years, and thought I left without any lingering issues....now I'm not so sure...very thought provoking. Now I'm reading History of God by KA --she's GOOD!