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The Scent of God: A Memoir by Beryl…

The Scent of God: A Memoir

by Beryl Singleton Bissell

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I was surprised I liked this book so much. I was expecting it to be a typical anti-Catholic rant, and I was not looking forward to reading a tirade written by an ex-nun. But it was not like that at all. I found this memoir to be a very honest and reverent story, of a young girl who sought after God and wanted to live a religious life in a cloistered monastery. She lived her dream for a time but eventually left her group and married. The only part I found disappointing was that Ms Singleton Bissell did not dedicate this book to her late husband, and she didn't include any pictures! But you can find some on her website. I would definitely read her other books. Her writing is very compelling. ( )
  homeschoolmimzi | Nov 28, 2016 |
This is a memoir of a woman who left her vocation as a nun to marry a man who left the priesthood. Certainly, this is a very difficult to decision which neither of them took lightly.
I think her choice of words were beautiful-very lyrical. The words lent emotion and understanding many authors are either unable or unwilling to give. She made herself vulnerable by sharing the words from your heart. Her voice rings clearly. ( )
  LynnGW | Feb 27, 2015 |
Here is a beautiful read! Beryl Singleton Bissell manages to tell the story of leaving a contemplative order after many difficult years with great kindess. While her experiences are hard, especially her struggles with anorexia and the theology of self-deprivation that supported it, she weaves the stories with compassionate reflections. These and the present-tense, second-person interludes that invite the reader to experience the monastic hours with her create a container bigger than the monastery--a world-view able to find continuity in the sacred both in and outside monastery walls. And the outside world is no piece of cake; her relationship with a priest is fraught with conflict, great love, and eventually loss. So the reverence and love of life that frames this story is remarkable. This book feels like a witness to love's mysteries. ( )
  ElizabethAndrew | May 13, 2013 |
really good. very moving. i'm not even religious!. surprised not to have heard more of this book--because it's by a woman/ from minnesota? ( )
  mahallett | Jun 14, 2012 |
Although this book took a while to get going for me, by the halfway point I was completely hooked. This memoir does what the best of them do: it tells a story as compelling as anything you'll find in fiction, yet it rings true because the author is painfully honest in her own struggles and failings, so that you can believe in her triumphs. This book can be read on two levels, both of which resonated with me. On one level, you have a "forbidden love" story, the story of two people who fell in love with one another despite their lives and their decisions (and acceptance) that they would forgo romantic love. On this level, the book does not disappoint: it's one of the most moving love stories I've ever read, complete with all the ups and downs and insecurities of first (and in this case, great), love, but it manages to do something few fictional accounts of love do: it makes you really want to see the couple together in spite of the hardship they endure. Because the hardship was real and not contrived by an author to heighten romantic tension, it's that much more compelling.

On the second level, this book is an exploration of Beryl's relationship with Catholicism and with her faith as a whole. While it's a little harder for me to talk about this thread objectively, this was the thing about this book that really lodged beneath my ribs. The ebbs and flows of Beryl's faith will be familiar to most readers who desire or seek relationship with a higher power; but what was really inspiring was Beryl's ability to find God despite having to endure some of the hardest realities anyone should have to face, including the death of a child. This is a story of great love, great pain, and an even greater God. ( )
  sedeara | Oct 2, 2008 |
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