Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Spiral Staircase

In the preface of the autobiography, Karen states:  “The cloister was a radical and daring solution. So while my peers opted out in hippie communes, experimented with mind-altering drugs, or tried to change to world politically, I sought intensity and transformation in the life of a nun.”   While most people view joining a onvent as a religious act, a way of becoming closer to God forsaking all things secular and embrassing the life. From the preface of the memoir and the statement quoted, the reader gets the feeling that Karen seen is as a rebellious act, something that went against all expectations of her from family, friends, and society.

One of the things that drew me in was the usage of T.S Elliots poem "Ash Wednesday," knowing the poem and seeing her usage made me wonder if the poem would have significance to her, and as I read the story farther it becomes evident that it does because she in fact quotes the entire poem.  Then she continues to quote the work throughout her story.

She goes in depth about her experiences after the convent as well as snippets into what she endured as a nun.  She describes in full detail what happened to her mentally, religiously and even physically after leaving the convent.  Her story of having blackouts and not knowing why and no one listening to her just bout broke my heart.  She displays a degree of strength throughout everything that I am not sure any of us would have, I know I wouldn't.  Despite everything she went through in her time in the convent and afterwards, she remains optimistic.

Pros:  Compelling look into someone's life experiences
Cons: None
Bottom Line: This is a compelling story and reaches out to anyone in any walk of life.  I completely recommend this memoir to anyone and everyone.  It is definitely on my must read list.

Rating 4.5 out 5

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