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Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  7,654 ratings  ·  645 reviews
The child of a Jewish father and a lapsed Southern Baptist mother, Lauren F. Winner chose to become an Orthodox Jew. But even as she was observing Sabbath rituals and studying Jewish law, Lauren wa
Paperback, 310 pages
Published January 20th 2004 by Random House Trade Paperbacks/Shaw Books (first published 2002)
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Vicky Clinkscales I am really enjoying this book. She tells her story and in the process has reminded me of some of the simple, but really critical pieces of walking wi…moreI am really enjoying this book. She tells her story and in the process has reminded me of some of the simple, but really critical pieces of walking with God.(less)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  7,654 ratings  ·  645 reviews


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Laura
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WARNING: Do not read this book if you do not want to grow spiritually.
M
Apr 23, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perplexing. A few thoughts on this account of a girl who converts to orthodox Judaism and then later decides to leave it for Christianity:
1 - I guess I don't know much about Christian theology but I find it strange that someone as clearly intelligent as this girl has no problem with the doctrine which to me seems so beyond human reason
2 - Reading about someone's mikva experience as she enters the jewish community followed by her baptism a few chapters later is nothing short of jarring
3 - It is i
...more
Jessica
I enjoyed this book. I found it engaging. I liked the voice; I felt like I would enjoy talking to Lauren Winter if I met her. I liked reading it and will probably go back and read portions again.

I had a little trouble with the structure of the book. For the first third of the book or so, I was under the impression we were following a distinct through-line. There seemed to be a narrative going on, with lots of reflection, yes, but with a firm plot that everything tied in to. The book is structure
...more
Samantha
Apr 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in learning about faith
I found this book deeply inspiring and somewhat related to my own struggles with faith. It was a gift to me (in a non-pushy way) from a friend of mine from church -- a peer who took a course with me called alpha where you have the opportunities to ask all sorts of questions about God and faith and challenges with it -- with structure and guidance. Being in a personal sort of environment combined with my ultra open self, she was very aware of both my Jewish and Catholic heritage and thought of me ...more
Sarita
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who want to have lots of sex and then become a national spokesperson for abstinence
Ms. Winner has a unique and intimate voice, and I enjoyed listening to her tell her story. Still, I agree with the other reviewers that she fails to offer any signs of awareness of her journey in a larger context. I have a ton of questions that this book brought up and it disappointed that she didn't seem able to offer any perspective - making this less of a memoir and more of a journal.

My questions that I was left with -

What does it mean to leave Judaim? Not just in a personal sense, but in th
...more
Auntie
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of how Lauren met her Savior, Jesus. Coming from a broken home with a Baptist mother and Jewish father Lauren's spiritual growth begins in the Jewish faith. She brings everything that she is to this quest. She immerses herself in study, in worship traditions, in community, into Orthodox community. She was an outsider and would remain an outsider no matter how hard she studied to be approved of by the community. The local Levite son would never become a marriage opportunity for ...more
Clare
Nov 15, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I admire the courage it may have taken to write this book, I couldn't write so briefly about my own spiritual journeys, certainly, but I found this book to be mainly trite, self-serving, and underwhelming. Ms. Winner claims at every turn to be over-analytical, and yet she barely scratches the surface of the meaning of her religious promiscuity.
She writes at length about the appeal of becoming a "real" orthodox Jew, and it sounds like she just really wants to be part of the club her absentee fa
...more
SheAintGotNoShoes
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
This author frustrates me by her on again off again behavior and thoughts. She started life off as an Orthodox Jew then decided she was being called to Christianity so she converted to the Episcopal Church, much to the horror, disgust and total rejection of some friends and family members. She sold all her Hebrew books, put crosses up on her walls and bought Christian books. At any possible turn she reverts to endless tales of Jewish belief, customs, literature and flips and flops more than a fi ...more
Kurt
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir is provocative, endearing, brilliant, and wonderful. Please don't judge the book by its lacy-shoe-light-blue/purple-design cover (I admit, I was embarrassed to read it in public, but it was so good that I'd sneak it into restaurants with the front cover hidden firmly against my side or arm).

The book allows Dr. Winner to give reflections on roughly one year of her life, according to sections labeled with various sections of the Christian liturgical calendar, but within that year are e
...more
Leah
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a memoir of one woman's conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity. The book was totally not what I was expecting and I loved it. I recently read a book by a Women of Faith speaker, and this was just so much more meaty, more meaningful, and more impactful to me. Lauren Winner is an intellectual, a woman who has not just professed her faith, but one who has struggled over it, studied it in depth, and tenaciously hung on. I can't help but admire her, leaving one faith for another in ...more
Elizabeth
On the whole, I think this book's big problem is that it's a memoir about a spiritual journey, which means it has two very different things to talk about, and both of them get short-changed because she's not a good enough writer to pull it off. The anecdotes about her life and the trajectory of her life feel scattered. She doesn't give me great faith that she could even pull off a straight memoir. Additionally, for someone who is so intellectually oriented, her discussions of religion feel very ...more
Rebecca
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some people just seem to have the religion gene. That’s definitely true of Winner, who was as enthusiastic an Orthodox Jew as she later was a Christian after the conversion that began in her college years. But rather than discussing her life in terms of a strict before and after, she drifts back and forth through the years, loosely linking her experiences under thematic headings and an overall chronological setup based on the liturgical year (from one Advent season to the next). I suspect the st ...more
Angela Corbin
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I took my time with this one... enjoying the process of soaking it in. This is a book that I'm really glad I bought rather than borrowed. I want to go back and reread parts, to remind myself sometimes of what's important, about the beauty of our Faith...of Jesus' loving pursuit.



In this memoir, Lauren Winner shares a year of her journey as a converted Jew-turned Christian. Her perspective is so different from my own, having lived by choice as a devout Orthedox Jew, following ancient Judaic tradit
...more
Amanda
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Winner was the teenage girl who wanted to believe. She wanted to be on fire for something. Child of two faiths, with parents who had fallen away from their own faith traditions, she decides to immerse herself in Judaism, then because she loves study and is seeking a big, flaming, important all-consuming something to believe in, she converts and becomes Orthodox.

And she loves Judaism, and the friends she makes in shul and in studies. They are like a loving, challenging, encouraging family. She is
...more
A.
"Girl Meets G-d" is definitely difficult to categorize, and if I made a shelf just for it, would call it "Spiritual Autobiography-Chicklit." I enjoyed every minute of it, even when Winner frustrated me.

Lauren Winner goes back and forth between her life and journey into observant Judaism and then into Christianity. It felt jarring, going from one to the other, but is definitely a process that I can appreciate. She draws you into her struggle, but at times, pushes you away with her narcissism.

I
...more
Carolyn
Jun 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed reading this as I do most memoirs. Lauren was raised Jewish, pursued Orthadox Judaism, them converted to Christianity after reading, I kid you not, Jan Karon's "At Home in Mitford." As an intellectual pursuing a PhD in History at some east coast university (Columbia?? can't remember - that's where she did her undergrad), she is somewhat sheepish about this. She doesn't fit my typical Christian box, which is why I enjoyed the book so much - it enlarged my view of who is a Christian and ho ...more
Betsy
May 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An insightful, witty, well-written, frank memoir of a girl's conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Episcopalian Christianity. Interesting insights into modern day evangelicalism, the relationship between Judaism and Christianity, and how your faith can affect every area of your life.
Laura
Mar 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite what I expected - a little more bookish and tradition-oriented than I was thinking - but I liked it. Honest, thoughtful, and personably real. I have to wonder, though - how on earth does a grad student afford a $900 piece of art?
Gabriel-paul Israel
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Kaysi
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
I really enjoyed reading about Lauren Winner's journey from Judaism to Christianity. I was raised in a Christian home, but although Christianity is inextricably connected to Judaism, I honestly know very little about Judaism. It was fascinating to read about various Jewish beliefs and practices as Lauren described her Jewish upbringing and her decision to become Orthodox.

Lauren's subsequent awakening to Jesus and decision to follow Him (a decision that appeared to her Orthodox friends as a grea
...more
Pam Ford
Initially, I picked up this book because a student had donated it to the classroom library. The title and back seemed intriguing. And though I enjoyed her voice and her intellectual approach, I will say that I was confused when the plot left a straight through and started jumping around in different years.

Yes, there were moments when I was challenged in my own faith, but this book also left a lot of questions. There's a lack of reflection on the writer's own part in resolving her own questions
...more
K
I was expecting more from this memoir. Lauren Winner, daughter of a lapsed Baptist mother but raised as a Reform Jew in accordance with her Jewish father's wishes, found herself increasingly drawn to Orthodox Judaism as an adolescent. After undergoing an Orthodox Jewish conversion in college, Lauren gradually drifted from Orthodoxy into Christianity, converting to Episcopalianism. I found Lauren's trajectory intriguing and appreciated her writing voice but didn't particularly enjoy her memoir, w ...more
Tucker
Jul 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an enjoyable memoir about the author's journey back and forth between Judaism and Christianity. As someone who eventually became a professor at a divinity school, she raises many classic theological questions such as the mystery of Christ's Incarnation. She also illustrates through her stories how religious conversion involves not just abstract questions of theology, but whole communities of people who can be affected by one's personal religious decisions.

The first 200 pages were very en
...more
Matthew
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

Really fond of how Winner portrays herself in this memoir.

There is a sincerity to how she describes the complexity of her coming to faith. She is vulnerable without reveling in her follies. She is honest about questions without turning uncertainty into it's own kind of confession.

She has been a friend as I wonder about how people learn to follow Jesus in my own context; where many faith traditions intersect in a rich intellectual world. I am grateful for her self-awareness of what be
...more
Clarivel.ann
Possibly the biggest take-away of this book for me was her value of liturgy in worship. I grew up as a fairly devout Catholic (rosary every night, sometimes 2x's/night, etc...) and believed everything that was placed in front of me. However, I can't say that I partook in communion with as much thought and reverence as I ought to have. I can't say that I recited each "Hail Mary" and "Our Father" with sincerity. Each time I dipped my finger in to the holy water and knelt before the altar as I made ...more
Ted Dettweiler
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is m first Lauren F. Winner book, and presumably a good one to start with since it is where the author begins in recounting her story. I think one of my
Goodreads friends introduced me to this author - in the back of my mind I took note and then this week I ordered one of her books online. A trip to the library yesterday netted two of the same author’s books and so I was given the chance to start at the beginning with “Girl Meets God”. Lauren F. Winner is engaging from the start of her stor
...more
Jennifer
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I find most interesting about Winner's story is that she chooses to label herself as Christian, and not as a Messianic Jew. I love how even though those in her Orthodox Jewish community can't believe that she fell for "that carpenter", here she is, writing about how her relationship with Jesus Christ came to be. Also, to read about Christianity through the lens of Judaism is fascinating; it strikes me that because the Jews are God's chosen people, there must be such a greater depth of richn ...more
Tiffany
Sep 30, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-finshed
I was really looking forward to reading this book. Being a girl who has struggled over the years with my faith, I was very interested in another girl's point of view on faith and religion. I also was looking forward to learning more about Judaism and the differences from Christianity. Unfortunately, I found the book to be confusing!!! The author jumps all over the place throughout her journey that I had trouble keeping track of where she was with her faith. Another thing abut the book that I str ...more
Kristy Bryson
I will be honest. I did not read the complete book. I read almost the whole thing. I felt that I could connect with Winner in terms of her compelling search for God and a religious practice that fit what she felt a relationship with God should feel like. I am also a nerd and love to research and read, to explore beyond the surface of practices and I want to have rituals to back up beliefs. On the other hand, I began to lose patience in Winner's fickleness. Faith also implies a certain degree of ...more
Stephanie McGarrity
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memior, spirituality
I really loved this book. Lauren has a unique perspective on the Christian faith, as learned through Jewish customs and traditions. I love her journey of connecting things that she thought she always knew to things that she was starting to believe. She is an avid reader and very intellectual -- and I think this has once again shown me that you can think critically about the bible and theology and what it still comes down to is faith. I love that she acknowledges that her life before Christianity ...more
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Lauren F. Winner is the author of numerous books, including Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath. Her study A Cheerful & Comfortable Faith: Anglican Religious Practice in the Elite Households of Eighteenth-Century Virginia was published in the fall of 2010 by Yale University Press. She has appeared on PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and has written for The New York Times Book Review, The Washing ...more

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