Devotion: A Memoir
From Booklist: "Approaching her mid-forties, novelist Shapiro finds her life dominated by a seemingly unending list of to-do's and a constant feeling of anxiety over which she has no control. Much of her unease comes from the effort to make sense of certain events in her past—including her father's death and a frightening health condition that affected her infant son—along with struggling to understand the turmoil that defined her relationship with her mother. While her childhood had been infused with religious tradition, Shapiro doesn't consider herself a believer or a nonbeliever. Yet, she is pulled to understand and deepen her own personal sense of faith as a means to calm the deep-rooted uncertainty and chaos of everyday life. In doing so, she seeks out a variety of different experiences and practices, such as yoga and silent meditation retreats, along with visits to the local synagogue and her Orthodox Jewish relatives. Shapiro's journey is a deeply reflective one, and her struggles are as complex as they are insightful, philosophical, and universally human." Add Audible narration for $12.49.
In her midforties and settled into the responsibilities and routines of adulthood, Dani Shapiro found herself with more questions than answers. Was this all life was – a hodgepodge of errands, dinner dates, e-mails, meetings, to-do lists? What did it all mean?
Having grown up in a deeply religious and traditional family, Shapiro had no personal sense of faith, despite repeated attempts to create a connection to something greater. Feeling as if she was plunging headlong into what Carl Jung termed “the afternoon of life,” she wrestled with self-doubt and a searing disquietude that would awaken her in the middle of the night. Set adrift by loss – her father’s early death; the life-threatening illness of her infant son; her troubled relationship with her mother – she had become edgy and uncertain. At the heart of this anxiety, she realized, was a challenge: What did she believe? Spurred on by the big questions her young son began to raise, Shapiro embarked upon a surprisingly joyful quest to find meaning in a constantly changing world. The result is Devotion: a literary excavation to the core of a life.
In this spiritual detective story, Shapiro explores the varieties of experience she has pursued – from the rituals of her black hat Orthodox Jewish relatives to yoga shalas and meditation retreats. A reckoning of the choices she has made and the knowledge she has gained, Devotion is the story of a woman whose search for meaning ultimately leads her home. Her journey is at once poignant and funny, intensely personal – and completely universal.