Girl Meets God: A Memoir

by Lauren F. Winner

Paperback, 2003




Like most of us, Lauren Winner wants something to believe in. The child of a reform Jewish father and a lapsed Southern Baptist mother, she chose to become an Orthodox Jew. But as she faithfully observes the Sabbath rituals and studies Jewish laws, she finds herself increasingly drawn to Christianity. Taking a courageous step, she leaves behind what she loves and converts. Now the even harder part: How does one reinvent a religious self? How does one embrace the new without abandoning the old? How does a convert become spiritually whole. In GIRL MEETS GOD, this appealingly honest young woman takes us through a year in her search for a religious identity. Despite her conversion, she finds that her world is still shaped by her Jewish experiences. Even as she rejoices in the holy days of the Christian calendar, she mourns the Jewish rituals she still holds dear. Attempting to reconcile the two sides of her religious self, Winner applies the lessons of Judaism to the teachings of the New Testament, hosts a Christian seder, and struggles to fit her Orthodox friends into her new religious life. Ultimately she learns that faith takes practice and belief is an ongoing challenge. Like Anne Lamott's, Winner's journey to Christendom is bumpy, but it is the rocky path itself that makes her a perfect guide to exploring spirituality in today's complicated world. Her engaging approach to religion in the twenty-first century is illuminating, thought-provoking, and most certainly controversial.… (more)


Random House Trade Paperbacks (2003), Edition: Edition Unstated, 320 pages


Independent Publisher Book Awards (Finalist — Religion — 2003)

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½ (213 ratings; 4)

User reviews

LibraryThing member jd234512
I appreciated this book considerably, mostly because of how she approached it. I enjoyed that she did not assume anything was known of either Judaism or Christianity, because it allowed for someone who ascribed to either of these or none of these to understand the two and to speak of them in a
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positive light without any bashing.
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LibraryThing member BoundTogetherForGood
I couldn't finish this...I just never believe she really "understood".
LibraryThing member Victorya
I met this author at a women's retreat I was speaking at. She impressed me so I picked up this book. Wow, I couldn't put it down and read it at dinner after I spoke and stayed at that restaurant until it closed, then went back to my hotel room and finished it before I went to sleep. Needless to say
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I couldn't put it down. She is THAT good of a writer.
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LibraryThing member tmarie84
This was a really good book. The author is very articulate, intelligent, hilarious and tender. She is brutally honest about her faith and her experience and I love that about her writing. She doesn't tip toe around the issues and attacks reality with a level head.
LibraryThing member lis2003
Intriguing insights into one girl's journey into Christianity. This was our first girl's book study selection at church. Fall 2007.
LibraryThing member LhLibrarian
I couldn't put her book down. The way she writes, the way she looks at life and faith - she was encouraging as well as enjoyable.
LibraryThing member CatherineMarie
This is an interesting book. I first read it when I was slowly coming back to the church, and was intrigued because in very many ways, the author is a lot like me. I tend to read a lot, and learn from reading. Its a fascinating journey that she makes from one religion to the other, and she makes
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some amazing comparisons/contrasts...
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LibraryThing member GAYLEGREY
Very interesting spiritual journey from Jew to Christian. Too wordy, but good.
LibraryThing member jkepler
While browsing my local public library's shelves for books on the Eucharist, I found this book by Lauren Winner, and started reading her chapter on the Lord's Supper, titled "The Viaticum". Viaticum was a Roman term for the food, clothes, and money that a Roman magistrate would take with him when
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he traveled on state business. Winner says that early Christians referred to a deathbed Eucharist as a "Viaticum", but she suggests that the term is appropriate for Communion at any time in life, since the grace provided for us through Jesus' body and blood is the equipping we need for our journey through life.

The book is a well written memoir of her teenage conversion to orthodox Judaism and then her college conversion to Anglican Christianity. She weaves her story together from disparate events, conversations, and books. Part of what I enjoyed about "Girl Meets God" is the way books almost become a character in her life.
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LibraryThing member nevusmom
A very thoughtful and thought-provoking book. First the author converts to Orthodox Judaism, then to Christianity (Anglican). A couple of her experiences really gave me pause; the first was her Ash Wednesday experience, the other was her choice of a Fast for Lent (reading). There is much food for
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This is not a book by some person whose closest connection to prayer is when they dutifully bow their head in church on Sunday; but by someone who genuinely seeks to lead a spiritual life.

Thanks, Lauren, for inspiring me, and making me think.
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LibraryThing member stacyinthecity
This is the story of the author's conversion to Orthodox Judaism and then to evangelical Christian. The story itself was interesting and well written. I enjoyed and perhaps was a little jealous of her complete and total faith.

However, as a I read it, and now looking book, I wonder how much of her
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belief was pure faith and devotion and how much was her personality, which it seems could be the type for her to get obsessed with things and dive in head first.
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LibraryThing member akblanchard
I agree with the reviewer who said that she wanted to love this book, but did not. Winner's life so far has had one remarkable feature: she converted to Orthodox Judiaism as a teen, then converted to Anglican Christianity in her twenties (this second conversion was influenced by Jan Karon's Mitford
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series and a dream she had in which Jesus appeared to her bearing a distinct resemblance to actor Daniel Day-Lewis). Other than she comes across as just another well-heeled, self-absorbed graduate student. There were chapters in this loosely-organized memoir that were beautifully written and resonant, but by the time I was done with the book, I felt as though I had spent quite enough time with the author.
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LibraryThing member ariahfine
Lauren Winner's is a great writer, though she writes for an audience that is well read on literary greats, of which I am not. She does a decent job of explaining the extremely obscure authors she references, but other times she makes allusions without explanation to authors and works of writing I
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know nothing about.

The first half of the memoir follows a sort of path of her faith journey from reformed Jew to Orthodox Jew to Episcopal Christian. The second half or so is more of a collection of memoir thoughts and stories related to her faith. I really enjoyed the book overall.
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LibraryThing member CochranS
Year in the life of well-educated and respected essayist when shr converts from Orthodox Jewish to Christianity, attempts to reconcile both sides to her religious identity, and explores true faith in today's world.
LibraryThing member christina.h
Flows like an in-depth personal conversation. Honest and intelligent, but left feeling a bit like Winner values religious tradition and human intellect slightly more than God's word. I think it's just that at the writing of this book, that like the rest of us, she's simply still learning to fully
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trust and listen to God.
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LibraryThing member DrFuriosa
Some of the chapters made for great individual essays. Others were messy and incoherent. And the overall thesis of the book--meeting God as a Jew, falling in love with Jesus, and becoming a Christian--didn't quite have the narrative coherence I believe it needed. That said, Winner has good insights
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on faith and the Bible, and her chapter on Ruth was very good.
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LibraryThing member MaowangVater
Winner’s first book is a very interesting collection. It’s a combination of memoir and theological essays reflecting on her growing up and conversion from Reform to Orthodox Judaism in the southern United States, and then to her study abroad in England where she was baptized as a Christian and
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how this affected her and her relations and friends. As a historian and scholar she has studied and drunk deeply from the spiritual wisdom of both religions.
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