On Barb’s Bookshelf: One Beautiful Dream

I binge-read my way through this book, and I’m not one bit guilty.

In One Beautiful Dream, Jennifer Fulwiler puts her insecurities right there on the page for all to see. That’s not news to anyone who’s followed her blog, but it might be news if the only way you know her work is through her first book, Something Other than God, or through her radio show on SiriusXM’s Catholic Channel.


There’s vulnerability in every chapter this book, and that’s what makes it resonate with readers, no matter how much you have (or don’t have) in common with Jennifer. While she brings plenty of the dry wit she’s (deservedly) famous for, she also brings the wisdom — the lessons she has had to learn as a woman, as a mother, and as a professional.

There are lessons about trusting in God — and acting like you trust in God after you say you trust in God. There are lessons about judging others’ motives based on what you see on the outside. There are lessons about never letting fear control your decision-making.

If you read Something Other than God or listen to Jennifer’s radio show, while you’ll hear a lot about her “crazy” life with 6 homeschooled kids in a small house, you might still get the impression that confidence rules the day for her. And if you’re anything like me, you might get scared off a little, because confident people can have that effect on non-confident people.

One Beautiful Dream, though, is not about confidence. At all. It’s about realizing that you can’t do all the things, and that it’s OK to accept help, and that there are people who are good at the things you either can’t stand to do or just plain aren’t good at doing. When it comes right down to it, One Beautiful Dream is about humility. When we think we can have it all, that’s pride talking.

So here’s my recommendation: plan an easy dinner that involves 5 minutes of work time and 45 minutes to an hour of idle cook time. Pour yourself a cup of your favorite beverage, and find a comfortable chair. Then let yourself dive in, and don’t feel guilty for even a minute.

Let Jennifer Fulwiler encourage you as you step forward in vulnerability.
Barb's Book shelf blog title

Copyright 2018 Barb Szyszkiewicz
This post contains Amazon affiliate links. I was given a free review copy of this book, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

Tiber River Review: Something Other Than God

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.

something-other-than-god-95799lgJennifer 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.

Highly recommended.

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.