Contemporary Inspirational Literature
Inspirational literature is no longer confined to Sunday School readers or religious texts. Strolling through a bookstore you’ll see shelves dedicated to literature of many faiths, including fiction and memoir. Some authors reach beyond the confines of their personal religion with smart, humorous or controversial topics that appeal to people outside the religious platform. This week in LitChat we’ll discuss what makes good inspirational literature–whether Persian, Kabbala, Hindu, Buddhist or other mystical or new age topics.
Trish Ryan is one of those authors whose memoir may be Christian in conclusion, but speaks to people of many faiths. The story of her search for God and the perfect man, He Love Me, He Loves Me Not (Faith Works/Hatchette), has been lauded critics for its honest self-examination and witty commentary on her own life. Publishers Weekly said this about He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not:
Ryan’s winsome memoir and writing debut traces her desperate search for a man—specifically a husband—and for a spirituality that works for her. En route, her heart is broken in every possible way: her college fiancé cheats on her; her first husband abuses her; and she dates a succession of alternately nice and creepy noncommittal guys. She attempts to talk herself out of her desire for marriage, hoping that crystals, feng shui and astrology will provide the guidance she needs to sort out the mess of her life. When she ends up unemployed and broke in Boston, she channel surfs across a Joyce Meyer program one afternoon and is shocked to hear that the Bible promises good things. She visits an evangelical church, joins a small group and ever so tentatively explores the idea of Jesus, eventually giving him her broken life and asking him to fix it. God promises her a husband and delivers (with a tinge of prosperity gospel that will appeal to Meyer fans), but not without cost. In spite of her desperation and a string of horrible choices, Ryan is eminently likable and vulnerable, and her sharp writing will appeal to faithful and irreverent readers alike.
Trish lives in Ithaca, New York, with her husband Steve, and their genetically improbable mixed-breed dog. She just completed a follow-up to He Love Me, He Loves Me Not.
Follow Trish on Twitter at @Trishryan