Mary V's Reviews > All the Way to Heaven: The Selected Letters of Dorothy Day

All the Way to Heaven by Dorothy Day
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Jan 31, 2013

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Read from August 04, 2012 to January 30, 2013

I won ALL THE WAY TO HEAVEN: THE SELECTED LETTERS OF DOROTHY DAY by Dorothy Day as part of a GoodReads give away. It was an interesting enough book, but I guess a series of one-way letters just isn't my thing. I did read the entire book, just to let you know; but it was a slow process because of the letter thing. Many of the people and references in the letters meant nothing to me. Some of the letters' recipients were perhaps people I had maybe heard about but many were complete strangers. I have heard about the Catholic Worker Movement, and it was somewhat interesting to read about how it came to be and its evolution throughout the years. That being said, I came away feeling that Dorothy Day and her companions were very radical and liberal thinking. Kind of over the edge to me. They were activists of the most determined sort. That can be good in some situations but not in all and I was left with the idea that in their beliefs it was the same for all types of situations. I felt like she bordered on Socialism, Communism or anarchism at the very least. Sometimes during reading I was thinking "Oh, wow! How weird , and she thinks of herself as a good American and a good Catholic". One thing I think of, is her annual participation in protests of the city's civil defense drills; which I have been told were in the same vein as fire drills and earthquake drills, intended for people's safety. How can a sensible person object to that even if one is against war. There's one thing to care about the poor and down trodden but according to her letters, I felt like she thought a person should devote all their time to that or none at all; which is not very practical to most people. So I guess that in addition to dealing with letters, I had a difference of philosophy with her, too. She was extremely devoted to her job of providing for the less than fortunate. In many of her letters, Dorothy Day was very encouraging to the recipient, but many other times she came across as highly critical, especially if the person had not taken Day's advice. I am a Catholic and I have great belief in helping others and giving aid to the down and out, BUT I also feel there needs eventually to be some effort on their own behalf. I came away with the feeling that Dorothy Day believed in handouts without expecting people to attempt to contribute. The book was an eye opener to the life of a woman that some Catholics are holding up for sainthood but who I do not see in even close to the same class as Mother Teresa.
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