Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Surprised by Oxford - A Book Review

This is a memoir by Carolyn Weber telling her journey of graduate studies at Oxford University. It's broken into the three terms established by the liturgical calendar. It's a good book, well researched, applicable quotes and an interesting journey. The only downside? It's ridiculously too long. Like at least 100 pages could be easily eliminated and the story would be better. After the first half, it just drags on forever. It's still good. It's just too long. Also, the language is somewhat offensive.

I did appreciate her intense documentation about her spiritual journey from Agnostic to Believer. I loved this example. "What happens if you turn from one, but can't fully turn to the other? Tell me. Is there a word for being eternally, pathetically, insurmountably stuck?" I paused, searching for the right words, the words that would convey exactly how my soul ached but could not quite leap. They were evading me. The entire table sat still. "Tell me," I finally got out, grappling for a light switch in the dark. "Is there a word for wanting to forget this God and Jesus and the whole mess? For wanting to forget it all?" I pinned him with my eyes.

"Despair," he reminded me, draining his glass.

And this one. "You had better think through God if you're going to stay in one piece. I've had colleagues try to sidestep God, but that only cracks them apart even further in the long run."

And, of course, I love an epilogue entitled, Believe Wisely. Amen to that.

Again, it's a great book, a great journey and a well documented story. It's just too long.

*For Thomas Nelson

No comments: