Twenty-something Lauren Winner -- a former Orthodox Jew turned Episcopalian -- offers a conversion tale worth the read. A doctoral candidate in the history of American religion, Winner is funny, candid, well-educated and curiously wise at once. Her style moves somewhere between Anne Lamott and Frederica Matthews-Green, making for (as one reviewer puts it) an ''addictive readability'' -- without losing any credibility as to the nature and struggle of her journey. Like most converts, Winner initially rides the pendulum of extremes, trading in her Jewish prayer books for the Book of Common Prayer, but (thank God) she can't escape or divorce her Judaism as easily as she might have thought. This tension becomes the ground in which she continues her work of salvation, drawing from the wells of Christian spirituality (you'll find everything from Cyril of Alexandria to Billy Graham, Sven Birkerts, Jane Austen and Dietrich Bonhoeffer) while recgnizing the invaluable sustenance of her Jewish upbringing. With characteristic charm, Winner expresses the paradox best: ''When I hear Anglicans talk about spiritual formation, I remember the finger paint and the honey and the fasting lessons, and then I am happy that I was formed at Congregation Beth Israel.''
An Eighth Day View:
The child of a Jewish father and a lapsed Southern Baptist mother, Lauren F. Winner chose to become an Orthodox Jew. But even as she was observing Sabbath rituals and studying Jewish law, Lauren was increasingly drawn to Christianity. Courageously leaving what she loved, she eventually converted. In "Girl Meets God," this appealing woman takes us through a year in her Christian life as she attempts to reconcile both sides of her religious identity.
Here readers will find a new literary voice: a spiritual seeker who is both an unconventional thinker and a devoted Christian. The twists and turns of Winner's journey make her the perfect guide to exploring true faith in today's complicated world.
Praise for "Girl Meets God: "
"A passionate and thoroughly engaging account of a continuing spiritual journey within two profoundly different faiths."
-"The New York Times Book Review"
"A charming, humorous, and sometimes abrasive recollection of a religious coming-of-age . . . a compelling journey from Judaism to Christianity."
-"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution"
"A book to savor . . . Winner is an all-too-human believer, and the rest of us can see our own struggles, theological and otherwise, in hers."
-"Fort Worth Star-Telegram"
" A] memoir, literary and spiritual, sharing Anne Lamott's self-depreciating intensity and Stephen J. Dubner's passion for authenticity . . . Winner's record of her own experiences so far is a page-turning debut by a young writer worth watching."
-"Publishers Weekly" (starred review)
" The] narrative's real strength . . . is its addictive readability combined with the author's deep knowledge of, delight in, and nuanced discussion of both Christian and Jewish teachings. . . . Intriguing, absorbing, puzzling, surprisingly sexy, and very smart."
-"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review)