I’ve been hooked on spiritual memoirs ever since I read Confessions by Saint Augustine when I was seventeen. As a person of faith, I find the religious experience endlessly fascinating, particularly when said experience flies in the face of cultural assumptions about what faith is or should look like.
Here are some of my favorites:
Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber is my main squeeze in the memoir department. A conversion story interwoven with a love story, Surprised by Oxford is set in the magical academic world of Oxford University, as indicated by the title. It has a fairytale-esque quality to it that reflects Weber’s educational background in romantic literature. There are many things I love about this book, not least of which is the beautiful writing, befitting of someone with as almost as many initials after her name as decimals in Pi.
Faith and Other Flat Tires by Andrea Palpant Dilley is the best memoir I have read dealing with the relationship between faith and doubt. Dilley’s story follows the format of Pilgrim’s Progress, beginning with her childhood as the daughter of Quaker missionaries, continuing with her withdrawal from the Christian community, and concluding with her reacceptance of the Christian faith as an Episcopalian. Witty, humorous, and down-to-earth, Dilley grapples with skepticism about the purpose of suffering, church dysfunction, and morality. The result is a charming, relatable, and completely underrated memoir.