Every Friday, I feature something written by one of my fellow bloggers at Patheos, a web portal devoted to religion and spirituality, or by another blogger/writer whose work I admire. This week, I had the pleasure of reviewing Katherine Willis Pershey’s new book, Any Day a Beautiful Change (Chalice Press, 2012), for the Englewood Review of Books.
Among a certain subset of Christians, it has become trendy to praise spiritual memoirists by comparing them to Anne Lamott. I no longer trust such comparisons. Lamott’s voice is so unique—sharply focused yet charmingly disheveled, fiercely critical, yet hospitably humble. And of course, she is funnier than all of the rest of us earnest spiritual memoirists combined. When I open a book that some endorser has labeled as Lamott-esque, I am almost inevitably disappointed.So the last thing I expected to write about Katherine Willis Pershey’s engaging tidbit of a spiritual memoir, Any Day a Beautiful Change, is that it reminds me of Lamott’s work, specifically Traveling Mercies—a book Pershey mentions as a dog-eared favorite. But it does.
Pershey’s voice is more measured and certainly less political than Lamott’s, her humor more understated and her intimate revelations more circumspect. But like Traveling Mercies and Lamott’s other nonfiction work, Any Day a Beautiful Change is not so much a memoir as it is a series of linked essays that explore spiritual truths, relying on loosely chronological events in the author’s life as inspiration.
Read the rest of my review here.
And while you’re at it, subscribe to the Englewood Review of Books print edition or blog. Lots of good writing about good books. And all done as a non-profit ministry of Englewood Christian Church in Indianapolis.