“After decades of living on the edge, Heather King settled into sobriety, marriage, and a financially lucrative but unfulfilling career as an upwardly mobile lawyer.” Amazon calls her book, Redeemed, “An unforgettable, fervent, darkly funny tale of an ongoing, stumbling conversion.” Join us as we read, discuss, and share our thoughts about it in our Fall, 2016 Wisdom Seekers Book Club!
PLEASE NOTE: Wisdom Seekers Book Club has been rescheduled due to Sister Martina’s funeral. We will resume Wed. Oct. 19 with a discussion of Chapters 10-12.
By Sister Mary Core, OSB
Our group discussion this week was again lively and engaging. We covered the material in chapters 6-9 in a random manner, as opinions about the author and her memoir were shared with much feeling.
Many of our book-clubbers shared their growing dislike of the author’s critical, pessimistic, and sometimes condescending views.
Others felt sorry for her, sensing some serious illness with regard to her alcoholism, her way of thinking, and all she had gone through in her life.
All agreed that she is a bright woman and that the little light of which she speaks is indeed in her or she would not have made it this far. No doubt that light is one of hope and growing faith.
Everyone felt there was a darkness about her writing, and that even when she was trying to be humorous, the humor got lost in her overriding cynicism. Not that uplifting an read!
Yet, all agreed that in the midst of this heaviness, there were some real truths we could all identify with. At the end of each chapter it seems she herself was able to turn her negativity, misunderstandings and judgments into something positive for her own growth in faith and maturity.
One member summed it up well by saying, “So you’re telling me, from chapter 10 on the book is going to get better and I should continue to read it?”
Well, I don’t know if you’ll think the book gets better, but I do think her writing will continue to touch our emotions – for good and bad – and that maybe the best we can do is try to find the lessons for our own growth from this woman who is so obviously struggling, falling, and getting back up again as she seeks to walk with the Lord.
Anyway, all agreed to continue reading and trying to find something “redeeming” about it. Pun INTENDED!
“See you” next week when we discuss Chapters 10-12.
Questions to Consider for Wed. Oct. 12:
CHAPTER 10 (Letting Go Of Self And Unselfish Doing For Others.)
Chapter 10 focuses on King’s own fixation being alone and lonely and how she slowly turns this away from herself and into an awareness of and presence to others who are also lonely and hurting and broken.
She says, “That is my purpose on earth: to put my body, attention, good cheer, and desire to do better, such as they are, into the stream of life, at the service of others.”
Near the end of the chapter, she says she is as bereft, clueless, and personality-disordered as everyone else and that she needs to allow her life to touch others and allow them to touch her.
She says, “That’s what I’m called to—what we’re all called to: a willingness to be emptied, to be servants.”
She also says, “The small act doesn’t bring success, it brings peace.”
What are your thought on these statements? How do they speak to you?
CHAPTER 11 (Cancer and Maybe Condescension)
In Chapter 11 King shares her journey with breast cancer.
Her description of the mammography waiting room, the surly, impatient technician, the inept office staff, the oh-so-impersonal medical professionals all seem to point back to her judgment of others and focus on herself.
Even as she describes the blonde-wigged, fellow cancer patient, we hear a note of condescension in her tone. How did all this strike you as you read the chapter?
What do you make of King’s last 2 sentences in the chapter:
“I think of her often, this woman from Newport Beach who wore a big diamond, whose hobby was shopping, who could have treated her husband a little better. And each time, I remember how, when Christ walked among his disciples after the Resurrection, nobody had recognized him.”
CHAPTER 12 (To Treat, or Not To Treat The Cancer, That Is The Question!)
Having been diagnosed with breast cancer, undergone surgery and been told the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes, King begins an in-depth study of the options she has for treatment.
Speaking of the oncologist who informed her of her options, she states: “Naturally, he had neither the time nor inclination to even rudimentarily explain any of this, so when it came to the about two million questions that rose to mind the minute I left his office, I knew I was on my own.”
What was your reaction to this statement?
Saying no to chemo, radiation and tamoxifen to treat her cancer, King does adopt a healthier diet.
But then she says, “maybe the most radical change in my eating habits was this: when Tim and I sat down to dinner each night, I started saying grace.”
What does this statement say to you?
She concludes the chapter by saying if the cancer returned she’d move to the desert …enjoy life and die in peace. OR, maybe she would avail herself “of every “weapon” modern medicine has to offer.”
What do you make of this?
What are your thoughts regarding her final sentence: “Last February marked eight years for me –and I’m fine.”?