**spoiler alert** From the back cover of my copy: "Set against the backdrop of two neighboring Southern towns, Sufficient Grace is the powerful, affect**spoiler alert** From the back cover of my copy: "Set against the backdrop of two neighboring Southern towns, Sufficient Grace is the powerful, affecting story of two families over the course of a year, from one Easter season to the next."
One quiet spring day, Gracie Hollaman hears voices in her head that tell her to get in her car and leave her entire life behind - her home, her husband, her daughter, her very identity. Gracie's subsequent journey releases her genius for painting and effects profound changes in the lives of everyone around her.
A spellbinding work, Sufficient Grace explores the power of personal transformation and redemption, and the many ordinary and extraordinary ways they come to pass through faith, love, motherhood, art, even food. This poignant, poetic study of the human condition affirms the enduring importance of relationships and the strength we derive from them, Even though we sometimes have to leave behind an old identity in order to discover our soul.
Beautifully paced, filled with unforgettable characters, Sufficient Grace reveals the vital place that spirit and belonging have in every inner life - and in the every day world."
8/27/07: Though it was difficult to get through the first chapter & I even put it down for a few months (I bought it in March, 2007) this is the most beautifully written fiction book I have ever read and the best book I've ever read. It's my top fave read of all time. I actually felt blessed to have read it once I was done. Amazing!
4/30/10: Once again I've fallen in love with this novel, even more than the first time. I don't know why I had a hard time with the first chapter or so the first time I read it (as I mentioned above). Ms. Arnoult's writing is beautiful; simple yet vividly descriptive. Her writing and more specifically this story comforts my soul and heals my heart in unexpected ways. I slowed my reading to a crawl towards the end because I didn't want it to end again. A novel I will come back to time after time.
**spoiler alert** Though I heard of this book in 2006 (see who I say recommended it to me), by the time my interest peaked enough to actually read it,**spoiler alert** Though I heard of this book in 2006 (see who I say recommended it to me), by the time my interest peaked enough to actually read it, I was also very hesitant to do so because of all the "hype" about it! Then I why did I go & buy the book? Because the waiting list at both our local libraries is over a year long and once I saw Liz's first appearance on Oprah in October (2007), I couldn't resist the book any longer. (Curiosity killed the cat as they say).
Usually, this isn't my type of book, but I can honestly say that it is, so far, the most honestly written memoir I've read to date and for that it's amazing. (That's the main reason I gave it to 3 of my girlfriends for Christmas 2007). I under-lined many, many sentences in the book that I relate to or which stuck a chord with me.
I lost interest at times when I felt I couldn't relate to some of the, what I call 'frou frou' spiritualism aspects of it. Now before you get annoyed at me, please keep reading! I'm not saying people can't truly have & believe they have had experiences like that. I just can't relate because I haven't experienced anything to that degree and don't expect to. That's just not me, but, that's okay on both sides of the coin. ("I'm okay, you're okay!")
I also lost interest & got bored during what I call her 'history lessons' that she gives in the book as backgrounds on different places and religious practices because I felt it got a bit too academic (for my taste) and at times too lengthy. I did want more closure at the end given the fact that I know Liz goes on to buy a home and live in western NJ & marries Felipe ~ she ends the book before anything concrete like that happens, but I know that life is never truly finished while living it and hope she'll share more in the future.
Okay, dare I say this?! (Puts on full body armor & holds up shield). Here it goes: Because of most of the comments "Richard from Texas" made to her, I think he's a condescending *&^%$!#! (My humble opinion).
It's been an interesting and emotional read and as usual, I'm a bit sad that it's now over. I wonder, "now what?!"
PS~ I watched both of Liz's Oprah appearances and what worries me after watching the 2nd is the rush to use this book as ones ultimate life guide or "bible," as some viewers kept calling it. That's not what she intended when writing it. (I assume given her reactions to those viewers!)
I realized in my late 20's that no matter how much you look, there's no one book (or even many books) that will give you all of the answers you need. By all means, take some things to heart, challenge your views and file away things as suggestions you can try, but if you take a book like this and use it strictly as guide for your own life, I feel you're still going to end up back where you were before you read it. (Been there & done that, let me tell you!) Liz's path is not the same as mine or yours or anyone's and that is okay! It may be a long & painful road but we'll all get to where we want to be eventually & all in our own ways.
I have battled severe depression for many years now and have been in abusive relationships (I'm not saying hers were) and I think many do not like this book because they cannot relate to that kind of deep & overwhelming pain and being lost, therefore, they feel that she's being selfish, self-absorbed, hopped up on self pity, etc.. I've also come across a bit of jealousy when others say they dislike the book because they may not have the financial means Liz had to be able to do what she did and therefore, they feel she's ungrateful or self indulgent.
Around 2000, I was handed a cushy trader job with a powerful and well known financial company in Manhattan where I'd be making oodles of money and working on the 78th floor of Tower 2 at The World Trade Center. I've always dreamed of working in the city! But, it was NOT what I wanted to do, nor did I have the confidence in myself to handle everything it would've entailed, so I backed out of the job ~ much to the utter dismay of friends & co-workers.
on September 11, 2001, I was at home that morning, sitting on my living room floor with my back against the couch because I'd thrown my back out. I turned on the TV to see Tower 1 of The World Trade Center in Manhattan "on fire." They didn't actually know yet what had happened. a few moments later, I watched a plane fly into tower 2. My tower. My floor. Later I found out that only 2 people from the 78th floor of Tower 2 made it out alive. 2. I feel in my soul that if I'd been there, I would've died that day.
Just because one seems to have "everything," sometimes the price for that "everything" doesn't make it worth having after all.
(Completed 1st time, 1/24/08 after beginning in Oct 2007) (Started again for CoL group read October 2009, finished November 2009). ...more