Living With A Wild God

A Memoir

Ehrenreich, Barbara

Book - 2014
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Living With A Wild God
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"In middle age, Ehrenreich came across the journal she had kept during her tumultuous adolescence and set out to reconstruct that quest, which had taken her to the study of science and through a cataclysmic series of uncanny-or as she later learned to call them, "mystical"-experiences. A staunch atheist and rationalist, she is profoundly shaken by the implications of her life-long search. Part memoir, part philosophical and spiritual inquiry, LIVING WITH A WILD GOD brings an older woman's wry and erudite perspective to a young girl's uninhibited musings on the questions that, at one point or another, torment us all. Ehrenreich's most personal book ever will spark a lively and heated conversation about religion and spirituality, science and morality, and the "meaning of life." Certain to be a classic, LIVING WITH A WILD GOD combines intellectual rigor with a frank account of the inexplicable, in Ehrenreich's singular voice, to produce a true literary achievement"-- Provided by publisher.

Publisher: New York :, Twelve,, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781455501762
Characteristics: 237 pages ; 24 cm

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Jan 31, 2015
  • JudithE rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Although I share an alma mater (Reed college) and an atheist parent with Barbara, I ended up disappointed in the book. Her transcendent-type experiences didn't strike me as very interesting. I also must confess that her early dismissal of the feelings of animals and other people, paired with her love of Descartes (whom I turned away from when I heard that he nailed a dog to the shed and then told people that the resulting screaming was just reflexes and instinct, nothing like they would feel if they were nailed to a shed) also turned me off. I found enough interesting to finish the book, but it was spotty for me, and i was hoping for more.

Dec 27, 2014
  • quagga rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A powerful book for the right reader, especially one who felt the tension between logic and faith from an early age.

Nov 02, 2014
  • LucasHill rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

On the one hand, this is just another memoir about the supernatural; on the other hand, at one point the author writes, "I decided to be God and be responsible for the whole thing." Most people encounter what they call God and express humble feelings about it. Not Ehrenreich. It might be individually instructive to assess one's adolescent psyche from a 40+ year remove, but is there anything generally useful to an audience here? The more interesting story comes when Ehrenreich learns how to grow from someone who lived around other people, to (presumably) someone who lives with other people

Sep 18, 2014
  • sawiley rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Ehrenreich is an engaging and accessible writer providing an account of her adolescence which is intelligent, relatable, vulnerable and often humorous. I highly recommend it for women who were sheltered or religious as children, as well as women in male dominated fields. As a person who was and is all three of those things, I found the memoir impossible to put down.

Aug 19, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

It's best to go into this expecting a memoir and not let the title mislead you. I was with it when were were talking history, philosophy, and metaphysics and then felt like I was being subjected to a really long tangent when the author would discuss her family history and her personal life and all that stuff. The writing is engaging though, I love her little asides to her younger self and how frustrated she is at young her for not recording things properly, but it is a memoir before it is anything else.

Jun 06, 2014
  • GummiGirl rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The teenage metaphysical musings didn't do much for me. But otherwise it's a good enough memoir, and having enjoyed many of the author's other writings, I was interested in learning about her early life. I particularly liked the parts about her scientific education.

May 09, 2014
  • MaxineML rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A fascinating memoir! Ehrenreich is a scientist, and this is a book of her struggle to integrate the unexplained in her life within her worldview - without resorting to religion. She's a wonderful writer - truly a great read!

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Dec 30, 2014
  • quagga rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"Mysticism often reveals a wild, amoral Other, while religion insists on conventional codes of ethics enforced by an ethical supernatural being. The obvious solution would be to admit that ethical systems are a human invention and that the Other is something else entirely."

Dec 27, 2014
  • quagga rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"I should have stayed home and read Kafka, whom I'd just discovered in a paperback bookstore and found agreeably disorienting."

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