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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice

An amazing tale, fascinating to this non-Catholic Christian (a review of the audiobook)

Running time: 7 hours, 9 minutes
6 CDs
Read by Kirsten Potter

Let me start this review by saying three things:

1) I am not a Catholic (I am a Lutheran);
2) I have never left the faith in any meaningful way;
3) This is my first Anne Rice book - I've never even seen more than a tiny bit the Tom Cruise movie.

I have never had much interest in the topic of Vampires and Vampire LeStat series was literally of no interest to me. When I noticed that Rice was writing the Christ the Lord series I had the same thought that she expressed in this book - what is she going to do to mess with Jesus? So, I ignored that as well.

But, when I ran across this audiobook I suddenly grew interested and I was not disappointed.

The book is broken into three general sections: her childhood in New Orleans, her college/career/atheism and her return to Catholicism.

The childhood section is deeply descriptive, so lush that I felt like I was wandering the streets of post-World War II New Orleans with her. Her descriptions of the full and complete life she had as a young Catholic are nothing short of beautiful. As a Lutheran I am mystified by the Maryology and the prayers to saints. This is the largest of the three sections. If the book were truncated to include only this part it would still be a worthy read.

The second section is much less detailed and is the smallest of the three parts. It is interesting but I never was quite satisfied as to the explanation for her falling away from her faith. But, then again, she notes it was just one comment from one priest that finished the job of pushing her away and, in my experience, that is often what people use as the excuse for walking away - a comment or a look from someone. Rice's comments about the Hippy scene in San Francisco in the late 1960s and early 1970s are very interesting and, at times, highly amusing.

The third section is about her return to faith. It is well done and nearly as good as the first section. I suppose that Rice intentionally made the first and third chapters much more vibrant than the middle chapter since those involve her life as a believer and she emphasizes its importance by making her work much more descriptive.
Anne Rice

Interesting comments that I noted along the way:

-Rice notes that Christmas at the mall is the only place that some encounter the "sacred" in their lives and, sad though it is, at least there is that.

-She notes that there are, for her, two kinds of Christians: Christmas Christians (celebrations and joy) and Easter Christians (perseverance and struggle for the Faith). I've never thought of it that way but it something to ponder.

-She has serious thoughts about what she should do as a follower of Christ. This is a struggle for her and, I have to say, I've had my own struggles with this very issue. It was nice to hear a fellow Christian's thoughts.

-She was asked in an interview" "How has returning to Christ actually influenced your life?"
Answer: "It demands of me that I love people."

She goes on to say: "To love my friends and to love my enemies. And the mystery was that loving my friends was sometimes harder than loving my enemies."

I laughed out loud and nearly cried at the same time at this one - so true and such a mystery of life.

This audiobook was brilliantly read by Kirsten Potter, and I am not using the term "brilliantly" lightly. She made this book her own as she read it and transported this listener with her voice. Amazing.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice.

Reviewed May 15, 2010.

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