And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures In A Cloistered Life by Jane Christmas
“Jane Christmas takes a decidedly unconventional journey to find out whether she is, as she puts it, “nun material”. This is no carefree adventure. The call toward a religious vocation has beckoned Jane since she was a teenager, and now in her fifties she decides to explore it in earnest. Meanwhile, her long-term partner Colin, previously disinterested in marriage, springs a surprise marriage proposal on her unaware of what she is about to tell him. Jane, however, decides not to allow her monastic dreams to be interrupted. She sets off on an extraordinary and intense year-plus journey that takes her to four religious communities—one in Canada and three in the UK—and in the course of her immersion provides a seldom-seen glimpse inside modern cloistered life. The book lacks none of the bursts of candor or unrestrained humor that have made her books so popular and relatable (this one is sure to ruffle a few starched clerical collars), but And Then There Were Nunscomes with a darker side as the author comes to terms with a traumatic event from her past.1″
The April book club book is the non-fiction “And Then There Were Nuns”. As many of you know, non-fiction and me rarely belong in the same sentence. I enjoy the thrilling adventure and whimsy in fiction. Some non-fiction books take liberties to bend sentences to make them more lyrically pleasing but usually tend to stick to the facts.
Jane Christmas takes us on her journey exploring her call to religious life. The thing about non-fiction is there is usually an interesting plot running beneath the veins of the story. It is the excess complex tissues that cover the story that tend to keep me from reading non-fiction. In the case of “And Then There Were Nuns” I bent my issue of reading non-fiction with the convenience of an audiobook. I was teetering on the ledge of reading the book and not reading it when I came across the audiobook through a library app. If I had not, there is an extremely strong possibility that I would not have read it.
In the description above there are two mentioned words that stuck with me while listening to the story, “vocation” and “monastic”. Though this may have been more at fault with the reader and not the author, I was annoyed by these two words which appeared incessantly.
ATTWN gives an interesting glimpse into a life hidden to much of the modern world. Each person must choose their own path in life and how they will navigate, but I felt that she may have abused the call to nun life and the hospitality of the nuns to her advantage. She may have had an interest in religious life but the main course was to deal with the dark issues of her past.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to have been able to listen to the book on audiobook, but this is not a book I would have picked up on my own, nor do I have any interest or inclination to refer it to anyone. As expected, time to move on to bigger, better and more whimsical adventures.
1. Book summary courtesy of Jane Christmas webpage.