Our Lady Of The Lost And Found by Diane Schoemperlen --- The Virgin Mary decides she needs a vacation. She finds a nice, quiet home of an agnostic writer and asks if she can stay a week to clear her mind. The writer and the Virgin Mary then spend a restful week talking books, music, religion, food, etc. There's also a good bit of history about saints and cases of Virgin Mary sightings here.
" 'Anthony is,' Mary said, 'the restorer of lost hopes, lost dreams, lost souls, the shining beacon for all those who have lost their way.'"
This book was interesting, but it was not the kind of read I was expecting. Right on the cover it has Elle Magazine calling it a "holy hoot" so between that and the title, I guess I was expecting something in the vein of the movie Dogma. Some serious ideas, but delivered in a fun, snarky, not taking ourselves too seriously way. This book felt like it was starting out that way but the humor quickly fizzled out, replaced with serious philosophical discussions on time, relationships, work, aging, life direction, the saints, and of course religion. I found the life stories of the saints and the Mary visitation accounts pretty interesting. The philosophical bits got a little dry in tone and seemed to drone on a wee too long for me. It started to feel like I was just in a room with a middle aged woman having a woe-is-me spell. You've seen those movies with that scene where there's a nice little party going on but then somehow a big fight starts and everyone ends up leaving except the hostess, sitting all sad on the staircase, and one random person holding a drink, looking around not sure if it would be better if they leave too or stay and offer a comforting word? That's what I felt like reading some of this book. If there'd just been a bit more humor, this one would have been a winner for me, I think. That's not to say there was no humor here though. I laughed at this bit largely because I was not expecting the last line:
Like most people, I was always hoping and praying for something, and I did not know for sure the difference between the two. I could always find something to feel guilty about and so I assumed that punishment could not be far behind. It never occurred to me that some of the things I perceived as punishment might just be coincidences. Like most people, I did not understand that not everything was about me.
Oh, one other thing that caught my attention. There's a scene where the writer is reading the Virgin Mary her horoscope. Thought that was a little odd since the churches I grew up around always preached that was a sin. The Virgin Mary in this story didn't seem too disturbed by it though. Unless all rules are off -- even for the Holy Mother -- when you're on vacation, maybe? It lead me to wonder though -- why was there not more written about the hereafter into the story? What did Mary and Jesus do up there now that they had all of eternity to catch up and be a family again? I found it odd that Mary said virtually nothing about her son within the story. Kind of a big deal, that boy of hers... I hear he still has quite the following :-)
Found a cool connection with this book --
Fe, the Spanish word for Faith
is also the PTE symbol for Iron
leaving one to remember to have faith as strong as iron :-D