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BOOK REVIEW: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Trish Ryan

Posted May 07 2009 8:30pm
First let me say, I've had Trish Ryan's HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT on my bedside to be read table forever (the hardcover version actually). It's been there for about a year. And I'm feeling pretty crummy about it. Sorry Trish! Especially since I had personally asked Trish to read and review the book. Sigh. Personal Failure Alert.

Anyway, let me get into the reasons why I wanted to review the book--and then why, now ready to write something about it, was having a bit of trouble. Don't let that statement trick you, the book is well written and entertaining. Trish, being that is a memoir, was honest and truthful and so sweet I just kept reading even though--the idea of being born again Christian was tripping me up--I kept reading. And reading until the very end. So let me start at the beginning.

I'm not very spiritual. In fact, church is only something I attend for weddings, funerals, baptisms, christenings, maybe a holiday here and there, but really for nothing else. Am I anti-religion? Not really. In fact, I believe in some sort of higher being. And honestly, that's been enough for me for years.

Long story of my childhood in short is: we didn't go to church much then either. My father went all the time as a child and even went to a Catholic school through is younger years. And from that, he decided, we wouldn't need to. And hey, Sunday mornings were never more fun for us! We didn't have to get up early and attend anything in dress up clothes! My Mom was okay with that too--but did spend some time teaching us the Bible basics. Basically the who's who of the important characters, brought us to holiday festivities at the local church, and let us tag along with Grandma and Grandpa when they attended every Saturday night. It was an easy existence, really. And one I never questioned. Even when all the other kids in the neighborhood went off to church and something called Sunday School (sounded brutal to me).

Fast forward a good 20-some years and here we are today. That sort of upbringing didn't haunt me, didn't allow me to make too many bad choices, and I am living a pretty normal life if I say so myself. I've thought about religion. I've had friends and dates and all that stuff with people that were highly spiritual to those that could have given a shit less.

What does all of this have to do with the book? Well, it's about becoming "one with Jesus." For Trish anyway. And as much as the book is about her, she sorta challenges us (the reader) that maybe it might be right for us. Which for me, really not so much. And as much as I loved the beginning of the book, found myself skimming later chapters that were going on and on about how praying with her boyfriend was just the most wonderful thing ever. Because for me, that just went over the top. For. Me.

I wanted to read the book since we shared an agent, she was a first time author, and I've seen her in some writing circles. Overall, it was a writer to writer thing--and having shared personal details of my life here on this blog (and in a possible book someday), I wanted to see how it was done. WITH a touchy subject for some.

So, in a nut shell, here's the skinny: beginning of the book was SO RELATABLE, so real and so fun I just kept reading. Cheering Trish on to find love and happiness, and crying with her when she shares the not-so-good relationships she had. It was an honest look and life, love, and her search for spirituality. She brought us along for the ride she had looking into fuengshui, alternative/new age healing, astrology... and well everything in between. I'd compare it to a cliff-note trip of my own--peaking into all those communities without having to try it for myself. And in fact, we do the same with her love life (the book does have another plot. The husband angle. She's looking for one, wants one desperately, etc). We glimpse in, take part, and really enjoy the ride while Trish remains open and honest--even about the dirt.

And even when she begins exploring Christianity, the writing and Trish's voice kept me captivated. She talked a lot about her doubts and uncertainty. All of which, being in her situation or wanting to "try something new" I would feel the same way. It was all relateable, fun, and easily readable.

But she keeps going down the path... and well, this is where my mind wandered. Everything was going so well. And weirdly well. And all the praying. And well, I kept reading because in the end I like a good love story, I had to be sure she found a man. BUT, I will caution you, it is riddled with Jesus and praying (so much praying I wonder how there is time for normal conversation ) and just a world that maybe I am so far removed from I will never get. Trish never loses her voice, even tells us that she is uncertain herself... which helped. But in the end, it just went a bit too far--again--FOR ME. The writing was superb and I love that Trish went out on a limb and wrote the book. It's an insider look into her life, and into a part of religion I'm not so sure I will ever get.

Trish--thanks for the read. I know it is a year late. Sorry, and please forgive me. But girl, you keep writing. Love your voice and writing. I might not be ready to go to church any more today than I was before reading, but the book at least gave me a glimpse into your life, which is what a memoir is intended to do.
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