Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Breaking Up With God by Sarah Sentilles

Breaking Up With God by Sarah Sentilles begins with probably the most interesting prologue I've read, setting the stage for the story of one woman's loss of faith and how it changed her life and her perspective on the world. The memoir begins:
"I broke up with God. The breakup was devastating. It was like a divorce when all the friends you had as a couple are forced to choose sides and end up not choosing yours. It was like waking up in an empty bed in an empty house. It was like someone I loved died."
Sentilles' was on her way to becoming an Episcopal priest, she was a doctoral student in theology, when she realized that the God she was in a relationship with contradicted everything she believed. When she left God, it changed her whole life, she had find new friends, a new career, figure out what life meant to her without God in it. The relationship analogy referred to in the title is maintained throughout the memoir, and I found it to be a very interesting way of looking at things. Sentilles' writing is lovely and there are moments in the book that made me catch my breath. At one point, she writes:
"In that moment between knowing the relationship must end and doubting you will ever find someone else, you have to believe you are enough. You have to be willing to stand in that empty house and love yourself.
Ending things requires faith."
In Breaking Up With God Sentilles realizes that her whole life her belief in God was something she felt like she was obligated to have, an arranged marriage of sorts, and when she finally thought about what she truly wanted it was something very different. However, as much as I fell in love with the memoir from the first page, there are aspects I struggled with. Throughout Breaking Up With God there are these tiny little essays, and I never really understood the point of them or why they were written in a childlike voice. Also, as much as I enjoyed reading about Sentilles' journey, I realized when I came to the end of the book I wasn't even sure that she really had ended her relationship with God, as parts of the story are a bit unclear and often it seemed like it was the Church, not God, that she had her issues with and obviously a Christian perspective of God isn't the only one that exists. My biggest problem with the book however, comes with the ending. Suddenly Breaking Up With God switches from the story of a spiritual journey to a manifesto about eating local and vegetarian, with scary facts and descriptions about the meat industry. Honestly, I'm still not sure what that portion of the book was doing there, but maybe I am missing something.

What I loved most about Breaking Up With God was Sentilles' writing, it is creative and imaginative and she looks at God in a way the reader may not agree with, but will definitely make you think. Although this memoir is flawed, it is also unlike anything else I have ever read and that is reason enough to make me glad that I picked it up.

Release Date: June 7th, 2011
Pages: 256
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This review was a part of TLC Book Tours. Click here to read what other tour hosts thought. For the purpose of this review I was provided with a copy of the book which did not require a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.

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