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.

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