As a cradle Catholic, I’ve grown up accepting many things about the Faith without doing a lot of questioning. While my faith has deepened through the years, it never occurred to me to think about proving or exploring the truths behind what we believe.
Jennifer Fulwiler, by contrast, came to the Church after growing up atheist. Her memoir Something Other Than God chronicles her intense journey of faith. She used resources that are readily available to us in this technological age, printing out pages of blogs and other religious websites, purchasing a vast library of Catholic books, and participating in online discussions. Fulwiler’s memoir shows–sometimes in very humorous ways–the great lengths she went to in order to satisfy her own intellectual and spiritual curiosity.
Fulwiler does not divorce her quest for faith from the rest of her life. This quest affected, and was affected by, her professional pursuits, her marriage, and even where she and her family chose to live. So many of the experiences she describes are easy for the reader to relate to, and her use of humor in the book does not serve to cut down the Church or the Faith in any way, but instead draws the reader in. The reader does not have to grow up atheist to “get” what Fulwiler is feeling, and her depiction of her health crises and others’ responses to those crises spark a geniune concern for the author. Fulwiler’s tone is that of a friend talking to a friend. It is not meant to convince the reader of the truth that Fulwiler has accepted. Instead, this book challenges the reader, whether a cradle Catholic, a new convert, or someone thinking about the Faith, to go deeper in their exploration–both on an intellectual and spiritual level.
The fine print: I wrote this review of Something Other Than God for the Tiber River Book Review program, created by Aquinas & More Catholic Goods. I receive free product samples but no other compensation for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are mine alone.