An NPR commentator’s story of an unlikely epiphany
and the healing power of faith

Stumbling Toward God, Sanity and the Peace That Passes All Understanding

Heather King

This memoir deserves to be as popular as Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ . . . It is more demanding, but also more rewarding. Its trajectory is more straightforward (from sinner to saint), but its voice is surprisingly quirky (smart, tender, tolerant, compassionate, scolding, preachy, encouraging, loving).”
-The Boston Globe

“As honest and raw as the model of the spiritual memoir, the Confessions of St. Augustine.”
--The Los Angeles Times

“An eloquent hymn of gratitude and wonder.”
-National Catholic Reporter

Heather King has seen it all. She’s hit bottom as an alcoholic waitress. She’s reached the top as a Beverly Hills lawyer. But it’s only when she embarks on a searching spiritual quest, quits her job, and becomes a Catholic—and a writer—that her true life begins. 

In her passionate, gritty, and deeply moving new book, REDEEMED: Stumbling toward God, Sanity, and the Peace That Passes All Understanding (Penguin; ISBN 978-0-14-311506-9; $15.00; on sale January 27, 2009), King combines memoir with keen insights into the spiritual life.

Though an adult when she converts, the author comes to religion through a child-like sense of wonder, paradox, and awe. Smart, darkly funny, and self-deprecating, King writes of growing up in the sixties “not believing in much of anything,” of two decades of hard drinking, of how—sober, newly married, working as a lawyer, and desperately searching for meaning—she one day walks into a Catholic church and encounters Christ: “A guy who hung out with lepers, paralytics, and the possessed . . . this is someone I can trust.”

King writes poignantly of existential loneliness and the conflicted human psyche. During her marriage she finds herself holed up on the couch reading Convents of Southern France, then wondering why she and her husband weren’t having sex. She tells of the breast cancer that brought her face-to-face with her mortality and the Virgin Mary. Perhaps she’s at her most compelling when writing about the death of her father, the devastation of divorce, and the joys of the writing life. Throughout the narrative runs the thread of King’s developing faith: monastic retreats, the cultivation of a prayer life, reflections on and insights into the Gospels, daily mass, and the value of a spiritual director. A voracious and eclectic reader, she quotes authors ranging from Kafka to St. Thérèse of Lisieux to the Desert Fathers.

King’s gripping story of her unlikely conversion and the wonder of discovering the healing power of spirituality deftly mixes insight and divine faith in writing that is mystical, illuminating, and inspiring.