rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a very thoughtful, introspective book. It was certainly not trying to impress its readers, and therefore did read more like Faith’s journals than “Faith trying to write a book about her Buddhist nun experience.” I like the frankness of the prose and the way the thoughts seem to flow. When she’s repetitive, it’s not because the writing is bad and she forgot to edit something out; it’s because her thought process in that wat was very cyclic; it returned to topics and hovered around them until it could resolve or abandon them.
What I did not care for as much were the actual from-the-journal notes that lined the margins of the book. These seemed like a book unto themselves and I could not decide when, as I read the actual text on the page, I was supposed to read these bits of text. They flowed in their own logical way, telling their own independent, yet related story, and it was very distracting to try to keep both stories in mind at the same time while jumping back and forth between the two texts. I tend to keep strictly to reading one novel at a time for a reason, and to read two novels literally simultaneously is exhausting, never mind confusing.
Nevertheless, this is the first book that actually makes me want to pack up my belongings, ship off to another country, and try something that, as a premise, totally terrifies me. Faith makes it sound like a challenge worth pursuing. Her book was beautiful, and if I ever spend a significant amount of time in Pittsburgh again, I intend to attempt meeting her. She teaches at the University of Pittsburgh
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