Monday, December 9, 2013

Pope Awesome and Other Stories

One of the oldest adages in the reading world is "Never judge a book by its cover." I would add to that, "Never judge a book by its title." I'm guilty of being a book snob; with the recent boom in Catholic publishing, there are now hundreds of books published every year to assist us in deepening our faith. Therefore, I try to CAREFULLY scrutinize every book I request to review, because I don't want to waste my time reading something heretical or a unfulfilling. I make exceptions to that rule if you are a Pope, or a Cardinal or your name is Scott Hahn, Mike Aquilina, or Edward Sri. When Pope Awesome and Other Stories showed up on my desk, I was skeptical.  This book, on the surface, didn't seem to meet the criteria of the books I usually review, but I decided to grudgingly give it a try, but ONLY because I trusted the book's publisher, Sophia Institute Press.

Pope Awesome and Other Stories is Cari Donaldson's spiritual memoir that tracks her life from an apathetic Presbyterian teen to a Catholic homeschooling mom of six, with a whole lot of New Age atheism and soul-searching in between. How does one get from her Point A to Point B, with that much darkness in between? In a word, God. As Mrs. Donaldson points out, despite all the plans we make and the running we do from God, if God wants us, He will ultimately get us. God's plan for our lives always reigns supreme.

So what makes Cari's life story different from other converts out there? Is it unique, different, and extraordinary? No. However, she weaves her conversion seamlessly into these stories of family life that will have you laughing one minute and choking up near tears the next. How the book got its name is particularly funny, but you'll have to read the book to learn the story. I also found it refreshing that she didn't try and hide anything from the reader. Her life is an open book...this book. It's something I could never do, but she doesn't mind sharing her story with you..."warts and all."

If you're looking for a heart-warming and side-splitting read this coming year, this is the book for you. Even though I knew the eventual outcome (her conversion to Catholicism), I was broken up by her spiritual wandering and kept hoping that she would figure it out quickly and come home to the Catholic Church. Her successes became my successes. Her failures were my failures. Reading this book was like catching up with an old friend you haven't talked to in years. Hopefully, she will write a sequel and we'll get to hear more about Pope Awesome and his siblings. I enthusiastically recommend this book.

I received this book for free from Sophia Institute Press in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click the link and hit Yes!