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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Pope Awesome and Other Stories by Cari Donaldson

I used to make fun of Mike for his reading habits (in my head, of course, until now.) He had a fixed set of things that he would always chose to read and it seemed like such a crazy mix of stuff- for fiction he likes thriller/suspense/political type books and for non-fiction baseball, Mt. Everest, and WWII (but not in the Pacific, only in Europe. Think Band of Brothers.)  Lately tho, as I try to actually blog everything I read, I discover a shockingly narrow range of interests of my own. (Romance novels, paranormal young adult/romance, brain science/psychology  non-fiction/memoirs and books about religious experiences/conversion.) So last fall when Cari Donaldson's book about becoming Catholic came out I made a mental note to look for it. I broke down and bought it over Christmas. A couple weeks ago we took a little car trip and for reasons unknown I skipped all my review books and decided to read this instead. I read all but the last few pages in one day.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that not many of my blog readers (all three of you) also read a lot of Catholic parenting blogs, but if you are looking for new blogs to read I can highly recommend Clan Donaldson. Cari is down to earth, funny and realistic about having a large Catholic homeschooled family.  I can honestly say I enjoy all of her posts, except the ones about The Walking Dead which I skip because we don't currently watch it AND I don't want any spoilers just in case we start.

Cari grew up going to church because you were supposed to go to church. Not because you felt anything or because of any theological reason, but because you were supposed to go. (Which is pretty much what I did. Looking back, it seems very strange that you'd go to church every week and learn these stories and listen to a minister talk, but no one ever says THIS IS WHY. It was all just stories and lock-ins but there was never any emotion or personalization. There was no discussion of what it all meant. I think perhaps as an adult you might start to clue in on your own, but as a kid? Not so much. You wore a cross because you went to church like a good girl, duh. And to get even more off track, I hear stories of little kids bullying other kids because they don't believe in God, but I bet even those bullies don't believe anything more than "good kids go to church/Heaven".) As a young adult and college student she actively avoided Christianity. She felt a void in her life but pretty much did every possible thing to fill it with any other religion or spiritual practice.  Pope Awesome is her hilarious recounting of how she ended up joining the Catholic church and how the Church ultimately overcame all her reservations about Catholicism.  Many of her reasons for not wanting to be Catholic matched up with mine, so I found that all to be highly interesting.  I'm not interested in a theological debate here on my blog, but this was a really great book that managed to be both funny and thought provoking, while not actually feeling like she's preaching to you. You never feel like she's trying to convince the reader to also become Catholic. In my informal study of religious memoirs, I'd put this right up there in my top two or three.

Now go read her blog.


  1. This sounds pretty interesting. I may have to give the blog a try as well. I tend to avoid religious based books even though the general subject interests me because I don't like feeling like someone's trying to convert me or that I'm being judged but it sounds like she does a pretty good job of avoiding both.

  2. I'm going to read her blog. Right now!

  3. Interesting and certainly not something I would ever have picked up otherwise.


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