Friday, July 23, 2010

Review: Not That Kind of Girl

Not That Kind of Girl, Carlene Bauer's debut novel, is a memoir of the author's life that invites readers on her journey as she struggles in her exploration of faith, love, and beliefs.

Raised on her mother's religion of brimstone, fire and damnation, as a child Bauer is convinced that the world will end in suffering and that human beings are immoral individuals who will spend their entire lives being tortured by their decisions. However, upon returning to public school in her sophomore year of high school she finds that her beliefs may have been a bit unfounded. She slowly starts to see that her beliefs may have been a bit extreme but decides to hold tight to her purity -- no drinking, drugs, or sex --which she carries through to her Jesuit college education.

After graduating from her small Catholic college, she escapes to New York City where most of her friends have abandoned their faith, are experimenting with all things love, and some dabble in drugs. While she remains non-judgemental in regards to her friends, she herself decides that she does want to experiment a bit with men and drinking. Reluctant to go all the way with men, she instead prefers to let other people think they know what she's doing when they see her leaving men's bedrooms in the early morning hours. After a few years of giving in to her "wild side" she returns to the faith of her college years converting to Catholicism in her never ending search for spiritual fulfilment.

While I appreciate the author's quest for spiritual and religious peace, I struggled with parts of this book. It seemed the author was more fixated on her lack of love life and unhappiness with her job, which at times,  played a bigger part in the novel than her spiritual journey. Parts of the novel that should have been pivotal moments in the story were glossed over, merely mentioned. However, Bauer does have a wonderful mastery of the English language and beautifully strings together sentences in such a fashion that keeps the story flowing. If you are someone who has struggled (or is currently struggling) with their faith and think you "may not be that kind of girl," you may want to check out this book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review by TLC Tours and the publishing company but was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own.