Book Critique: Lauren Winner “Girl Meets God”

Lauren Winner’s writing style in “Girl Meets God” is more matter of fact than several of the previous books. The main theme she deals with is combining her Jewish faith/up bringing with her new-found Christianity.

It is interesting to me that she has such a difficult time reconciling the two faiths as if they are completely separate belief systems. As if she can no longer believe/ participate in traditional religious practices of her Jewish past because Christianity has now done away with that. She struggles with trying to figure out a way to balance the two. In her Christian faith she believes that her Jewish practices are obsolete and, in some cases, like she shouldn’t do them – as if it would mean her Christian conversion means nothing. I would think it gives more meaning and a deep appreciation for Christianity and what it means beyond what any other conversion would be able to understand. If anything her Jewish faith should enhance and enlighten much of what modern-day Christians lack and don’t understand because they don’t understand the history at the foundation of the Jewish faith.

I am fascinated with the Judaism. It is the foundation, the beginning of my own. I can only begin to guess the importance of the things written in the Old Testament of the Bible. I know, superficially, the importance of the events that take place. I even understand, to some extent, the rules, the traditions, and the value in the dogma. What I don’t understand are the limitations. The New Testament of the Bible frees Christians from the religious restrictions of the Jewish past. It also makes available a God and faith that was previously unavailable to the gentiles, the secular people. It removed boundaries and limitations – Lauren clearly struggles with this new-found freedom because the regulations are so entrenched in who she is. It’s as if she knows she is a new creation and is also bound by the Jewish law. Undoing a life of rules, building a new frame of understanding, and view about life and faith is an intriguing road to watch her travel.

As a writer, I enjoy the way she broke down the book. First into broad categories, then into sub-categories with relevant stories from her life. There is also a chronological arrangement to the chapters that makes sense. She explains Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, which comes two weeks after the Jewish New Year. Then she goes into Advent and progresses through the Jewish calendar. It makes sense that, as a former Jew, her life would still revolve around those Holy days and then her interpretation of them as a Christian.  As she tells her story she includes many Jewish phrases, often explaining their meaning or importance in Jewish life and faith. I appreciate having the meanings explained.

Overall, the book was educational. I have a better understanding of Judaism and how difficult it can be for Jews to understand and accept Christianity. And how those who have converted feel a sense of loss and abandonment by their family and friends and how difficult finding new friends and a faith family can be.


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