From Matzah Balls to Communion Wafers: How a not so Kosher Jewish Girl Fell in Love with Jesus
“From Matzah Balls to Communion Wafers: How a not so Kosher Jewish Girl Fell in Love with Jesus is a memoir from a spiritually inclined woman looking back on her life. The narrator, Gail Baker, grew up in Gainesville, Georgia, in the 1950s and graduated from George Washington University in 1971. She marries a man named Steve and has a son, Michael. Michael grows up to experience several issues from depression to eating disorders to addiction, and Baker chronicles her feelings as a mother through all of it.
Baker grows up Jewish and spends much of her adulthood trying to find God through the lens of the religion with which she was raised. When Michael acts out, Gail finds solace in research and participating in the Jewish community. Gail also has Evangelical friends who coax her into reading Christian books. She eventually finds out, decades later, that Michael was sexually assaulted by a stranger as a child.
Baker chronicles her spiritual journey with a methodical, research-based approach. She eventually comes to the conclusion that she finds the most comfort in Christianity’s approach to life’s persistent woes. Baker’s research is a veritable reading list for those who want answers about any grief, fear, guilt or doubt they may be experiencing in their life. The particulars of Baker’s life are unique, but the overall theme – someone who has a spiritual change of heart and experiences emotional turmoil about it – is fairly common. As time goes on, many churches are realizing, for the sake of survival, that it’s better to be open and nonjudgmental than to be an insular and exclusive club.
Baker’s wordy and meandering writing style takes some getting used to. She seems to be able to recall certain details of her life meticulously, but leaves out pertinent information in other anecdotes, such as what year it is and what relation the people in any given scene have to her. She name-drops people by their first and last names without giving any indication of who they are or why the reader should find them relevant to the story. The most egregious mistake in this book is that Baker seems to place a higher priority on her own religious turmoil than her son’s trauma. She gives Michael two paragraphs to explain his feelings in a 160-page book. Michael’s story would be an infinitely more interesting, inspiring, and relevant one, should he ever choose to tell it.
Baker has created a website called A Congregation of One, which describes some of her research and journey. Her blog posts on her website also are in her book, so if you want to get a taste of her writing style before purchasing her book, you can. The book would be a comfort for anyone who has had a change of heart about the religion they were raised with, or who are overwhelmed with grief or turmoil.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Page Count||256 pages|
|Publisher||Worthy Publishing Company|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|