Thursday, February 23, 2012

THE SACRED JOURNEY by Frederick Buechner (Copyright 1982 by Frederick Buechner; Harper & Row, Publishers, San Francisco)

What a lovely work! Frederick Buechner has graciously and beautifully written of his early days, his childhood, in a way I've not read before, and I truly loved it. Buechner's prose and memories evoke many of my own feelings growing up even though our lives were quite different. He has a way of "taking you back in time."

Buechner's works are a mix of nonfiction and fiction.  His nonfiction works deal primarily on topics of theology and faith.  I cannot speak to his works of fiction as I haven't read any of those.

The Sacred Journey was recently handed to me by my brother-in-law with whom I share a love of words and writing.  He thought perhaps it would give me another perspective on writing memoir, and it definitely has.  In this his first autobiographical book, Buechner writes "[a] child takes life as it comes because he has no other way of taking it." At first, these words were startling to me as I was tossed back to my own childhood and I realized that yes, I took my life then as I did because what else was I to do.

Somehow Buechner crafts his story writing and language in such a way that the reader feels a constant flow of his emotions and transitions.  In that way, Buechner takes the reader into his or her own story by reflection. Considering Buechner was a reluctant writer about his life story, he has accomplished what we all hope to do in our writing -- help another see the threads and webs of his or her own story.

I recommend this book to anyone considering or in the process of writing memoir or a life story as it has a style altogether different from what we find in bookstores and libraries today of life story writing.


  1. Sacred Journey...the name alone is an invitation to press close to the heart of God. I say yes to that invitation!

  2. Shannon, I join you in that "Yes" to the invitation! Glad you stopped by.


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