liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,
liveonearth
liveonearth

The Spiral Staircase: My Climb out of Darkness


This is the first of my (extensive) Summer Reading project. It is written by Karen Armstrong. I started it yesterday afternoon, and am already 1/3 of the way through it. In it Karen tells the story of her 7 years in a Catholic convent and the aftermath of that experience. When she attempted to integrate back into the regular world, she became mentally ill, and was unable to find real help. She was studying English literature at Oxford, and could still function as an academic, writing beautiful "Gothic" essays. But she had lost the ability to connect to other people, to love or accept love. She is a beautiful writer, nonjudgmental and straightforward about what happened to her, and how she has come to understand it. Her retrospect is quite clear, though she constantly refers to another book that she wrote prematurely, attempting to explain her experience. She says it was the "worst book I have ever written" and she is glad it is out of print. I am learning to understand Catholicism and its effects on culture at a new level.

I picked this book up first because Joe just recommended it the other night. Renee had recommended the same book, probably years ago by now, and I acquired it at Bookman's in Flagstaff, and have been carrying it around. That's how I am with books.
Tags: books, catholicism, education, isms, madness, psych, religion, sanity, writing
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