Any time I sit down to read something billed as a "memoir", I feel like I'm putting a quarter in a slot machine. So many memoirs are nothing but a monument to one's ego, full of arrogance and narcissism. Sometimes they are naivety at it's finest, assuming that there is some group of people in the world that are fascinated by someone else's ups and downs of life. Seldom, if ever, do I actually get something that I feel is worth the time it took to read. If I do, it is like hitting the multi-million dollar jackpot.
Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith by Michelle DeRusha isn't quite like hitting the jackpot, but it is like a respectable several thousand dollar slot machine win. The first chapter gripped me personally since her experience as a "lapsed Catholic in the making" childhood was identical to my experience, even down to wearing the brown scapula because of it's promise to avoid eternal fire (when I was in my elementary years, I was petrified of fire). Even if I hadn't had that instant connection with the author, her wit, personable writing style and unique voice made her instantly likable. It felt as though I was sitting down in a coffee shop with someone I just met, but had instant synergy with and I was about to hear her life story.
My one problem with the book is I found myself longing for a direction, so to speak, by around chapter 4 or 5. Her struggle toward finding authentic faith wasn't as narrow a focus as I would have liked to have seen. It's not that I didn't enjoy sitting in the boat with her, but I began wondering where the boat was going, just a general "over there" didn't cut it. That is sort of the craft of writing memoir, taking real life situations and pulling the right information out to make a satisfying story.
Overall, I recommend this book to anyone looking for an insightful biography of someone who feels just like them. This would be the perfect book to take on vacation and read while sitting poolside or on the beach. It would also make a good "bedtime book", something that you read just a chapter or so at a time every day before falling asleep. I say that because the book feels like checking in with a good friend...there isn't always tons of substance to the conversation, but you always feel good after it.
I was provided this book free of charge by Crown Publishing in return for my honest review.