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Book Review: Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber

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Summary (from Goodreads):
A "girl-meets-God" style memoir of an agnostic who, through her surprising opportunity to study at Oxford, comes to a dynamic personal faith in God.

Carolyn Weber arrives for graduate study at Oxford University as a feminist from a loving but broken family, suspicious of men and intellectually hostile to all things religious. As she grapples with her God-shaped void alongside the friends, classmates, and professors she meets, she tackles big questions in search of love and a life that matters.

This savvy, beautifully written, credible account of Christian conversion follows the calendar and events of the school year as it entertains, informs, and promises to engage even the most skeptical and unlikely reader.

I thought this was a good book. It contained lots of interesting reflections, and provided a lot of food for thought. I enjoyed following the author's journey to faith, and the literary allusions and Oxford setting definitely helped as well. There was also a little bit of romance.

I did have some minor issues; I found that some of the dialogue in the book didn't quite feel real, but I realise that, since the author was writing fifteen or so years after the events described, obviously she wasn't going to remember exactly what was said. I also sometimes found the thread of the story and the different characters difficult to keep track of; there are quite a few sidelines into reflections on various topics, which I enjoyed, so this isn't really a criticism (and may also have been because I read the book over a few months; it would probably have been easier to follow if I'd read it a bit more quickly).

Anyway, I enjoyed this book; I intend to re-read it at some point, and would definitely recommend it  Here are some quotes I thought were especially good:
 
Anything of real value lies in relationship, and yet relationships are where we find ourselves the most vulnerable. (p. 185)

Dying to despair, dying for us in spite of despair, so that despair may die. (p.280)
(on Good Friday)
 
 
Poetry does befriend you if you take it to heart. (p. 234)
  
It is a delicious and dangerous time, this honeymoon of the soul. All sweetness and light. (p. 278)
(on the time following conversion)

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