July 24th, 2005

hermione by oatmilk

more HP6:HBP

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My dad (who hasn't yet read HBP) sent me a link to this article by a writer he trusts (having not yet read HBP, he also hasn't read the article).  It says a lot of things i've already said, and brings up further points that make a lot of sense.  I don't buy all of them -- some are major, some are incidental -- but it's a very sense-making article.

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i fight fire with words

Girl Meets God: a memoir (Lauren F. Winner)

sk8eeyore read this, and i'm fairly acquiescent to "I'd kind of love to hear your reactions."

sk8eeyore: And there were, of course, other parts that roughed me up, like where she discusses community and the lies we tell ourselves about prayer being our individual vertical line to God.
hermionesviolin: So would the "If pressed, I could probably think of a reason that almost every person on my flist should read this book" item for me be "because it will make you want to kick things?" ;)
sk8eeyore: Basically, yes. Exactly :) I almost noted that in the post, even, but I figured it kinda went without saying.
sk8eeyore: Actually, there were certain bits I thought you might enjoy, or at least find intriguing -- she does some interesting exegetical stuff with biblical and other Jewish texts, talking about how she reconciled Old and New Testament texts following her conversion from Orthodox Judaism, stuff that made me go, "Ooh. Text. Elizabeth." And admittedly I'd kind of love to hear your reactions to the book as a whole :)

I read Amazon reviews and suspected i wouldn’t be a fan. I gave it a shot anyhow, though.


On the whole, i think its big problem is that it’s a memoir about a spiritual journey, which means it has two very different things to talk about and both of them get short-changed because she’s not a good enough writer to pull it off. The anecdotes about her life and the trajectory of her life feel scattered. She doesn’t give me great faith that she could even pull off a straight memoir. Additionally, for someone who is so intellectually oriented, her discussions of religion feel very superficial. She talks about ruptures, and i wholly validate the fact that most people’s lives cannot be told as cleanly as fictional characters’ can, but i had some difficulty following the trajectory of her life, and a lot of the anecdotes felt random.

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And that’s it. Feel free to chime in whether you’ve read the book or not, since there are lots of places one can chime in about Judaism, Christianity, spiritual community, or other issues. And of course if you have read the book, or have read other writings by Winner (this was my introduction to her) you can certainly comment in that vein as well.