Thanks for stopping by to read my first ever book review! I’m so excited to share my thoughts on this great book. Enjoy the review… and grab a copy of the book for yourself when you’re done! The review does include affiliate links. Thanks for your support!
You may be familiar with Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog, Conversion Diary. I adore her self-deprecating sense of humor, and was thrilled when I was finally able to read her memoire, Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It.
The book is the story of Jennifer’s Fulwiler’s journey toward Christ. Having grown up with a strongly atheist dad and a mother who didn’t discuss religious beliefs, Jennifer followed in her father’s footsteps. As a tender fifth grader, placed under duress by a rabidly Christian camp counselor, Jennifer assigned a label to herself: atheist. For the next several years, she endured the pain of being ostracized from her Texas school’s social scene because she hadn’t been “saved” and “born again,” and wouldn’t participate in their Bible studies.
Jennifer learned from her father that “[b]elief in gods and angels and stuff like that is a comfort to some people,” but clearly not for her. She ascribed to a scientific world view, devoid of any divine hand or direction. The first notch in the armor of this “logical” thinking appeared when Jennifer was only eleven years old, searching for fossils with her dad. Upon finding an ammonite embedded within the rock wall, Jennifer was faced with the brevity of her human life and the fact that, according to her belief structure, her “fate was no different” than that of the ammonite. In ten million years, she would not exist, not even in the fossilized form of the ancient mollusk she had found.
After this dose of “reality”, Jennifer was filled with a desolation which was only relieved by fleeting moments of happiness, and Jennifer spent the next decade desperately trying to capture those elusive moments of joy. It was only after the birth of her first son left her in a deep depression, filled with the sure knowledge that her child’s fate was no different than her own – a finite life on earth, followed by an empty void of nothingness – that Jennifer began to question her views on divinity. Surely atheism could not explain the love she felt for her husband and son. “There was more to human life than the atoms that made up our bodies – I was sure of it.”
Initially filled with questions and doubts, Jennifer methodically sought out answers, and shares this process with her readers in this humorous and endearing memoire. With her husband, Joe, Jennifer traced the roots of Christianity to find where Truth really lies, including an excellent exploration of her last hold-out on joining the Catholic Church, her battle to maintain her pro-choice views.
For those of you familiar with Scott Hahn, I have referred to Something Other Than God as “the new Rome Sweet Home, for “real” people. While being extremely informative, the book is also entertaining, and a delightful read. I would recommend this to any non-Christian seeking to understand Christianity, any Christian seeking to understand Catholicism, and any Catholic seeking to better understand their own faith.