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Easter Everywhere: A Memoir Hardcover – April 3, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A scrappy kid with a violent stutter, novelist Steinke (Milk; Suicide Blonde) is the oldest child of an aloof Lutheran minister and a clinically depressed former Miss Albany. The household is steeped in the word of God; Steinke grows up brewing her own communion wine, baptizing the neighborhood cats and craving, even at age six, spiritual transcendence. It's a wish that never leaves her, and she's tireless in her pursuit of this elusive state of oneness, first seeking it in a sexually obsessive relationship with a man who turns out to be gay, and then in her doomed marriage. Her writing on these topics is blunt and powerful. When her husband confides that a teenage girl of their acquaintance has been e-mailing him, Steinke doesn't pull her punches. "Michael believed that getting close to young girls and hearing about their love life was so exciting that anyone, even his own wife, would understand the Masonic pull." When it comes to her personal relationship with God—the real meat of the book—Steinke is relatively brief, almost distant: "The idea of church still has a grip on my imagination, but I realize now that what I thought was held only inside those walls—grace and divinity—is actually located directly and authentically inside myself." Steinke is a gifted writer, and this only leaves readers wanting more. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

Steinke, author of several novels, including Jesus Saves (1997), turns out a smoothly written memoir detailing the derailing of a minister's daughter. Her father's professional life begins in a poverty-ridden carnival town where he builds a modest A-frame church from a mail-order kit. Her voluptuous mother, a former beauty queen, is worn down and depressed by "the degraded position" of a poor clergyman's wife, and young Darcey becomes "desperate to minimize [her] mother's sadness." The child sometimes escapes and plays "deacon of the woods" as she baptizes cats, weds her calico blanket for security, and performs funerals for dead animals. A third child's birth pushes her mother temporarily over the edge. When Dad enters secular life "ministering to crazy people" in a state institution, it's another step down. No wonder Darcey stutters. And no wonder she rebels, committing herself "to glamour" and appearing in photo shoots and commercials as her wildness increases. Marriage, motherhood, and divorce follow, and at every conjuncture, the reader finds joy in Steinke's journey. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582345309
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582345307
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,707,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brooklyn reader on April 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was feeling very down when I picked up this memoir and reading it gave me some respite and new insight into what is often labelled depression--but what this author suggests might actual be spiritual longing. Without being zealous, Steinke wrestles on the page in very spare, moderate prose with her struggle to come to terms with her questions about spirituality, instilled in her as a child by her father, a Lutheran minister, with a need for a different kind of spirituality as an adult. I would love to read more by this writer about her ongoing attempts to find spirituality in her life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rene Marks on May 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Easter Everywhere is an unusual memoir---a beautifully-written exploration of the connections between faith and doubt. Especially at a time when zealots and fundamentalists have the loudest public voice on religion, it's a relief to read Steinke as she frankly probes her own belief, not with cliched pieties, but with a fierce search for God, with all the struggles and uneasiness that entails. The writing is so vivid and compelling, this book will move readers (especially perhaps those with spotty church histories, or no religious background at all) to consider their own faith or lack of it. Steinke's story is startling, poignant, and revelatory.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Davis on July 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This was a beautifully-written memoir about growing up as a minister's daughter. The author paints a vivid picture of what it was like to move from place to place, live with a mother who suffered from depression, all the while searching for spiritual meaning in her life. It's very honest and frank, yet has a poetic quality to it. Whether you are a devout Christian or struggling with your faith, I think everyone will find something to relate to in this memoir.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By SESTORYWOMAN on July 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Haiku is particularly potent and effective for its subtlety in capturing a fleeting image. The beauty of the language haunts not only because of what it suggests but also because of what it leaves to the imagination. "Easter Everywhere: a Memoir" is written with a haiku-esque flair for capturing pictures of Steinke's life, persona, and spiritual journey while only suggesting the depth behind some of these experiences. The flow of the narrative is sometimes disjointed and the reader must play a mental catch-up game to follow Steinke's narrative lead. Still I felt that I really understood Steinke's loneliness and alienation from the religious traditions that she grew up with. I found myself in sync with the poetic rhythms of the book; this is not a difficult book to read but there are sections that I read several times because I enjoyed Steinke's flair for language. This is an unusual memoir and one that I fully enjoyed because I've had similar experiences.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By wildseed on June 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Steinke avoids the pitfalls in many a modern memoir. She deftly jumps from one stage of her life to the next, without the necessity of providing a continuous and detailed account. This leaves a spaciousness to the book, which gives it more weight than one might expect from a relatively short life story. Her writing style is delightful, with many a choice phrase. The threads through the book are her troubled parents and a longing for meaning in her life, one which she finds in a spiritual life that is anything but the neat and certain religion of so many believers. The later sections involving her explorations of religion are particularly compelling.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tabitha G. Lewis on March 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was fortunate enough to meet Darcy at a reading done at the College of St.Rose in Albany, NY tonight. She also came and spoke to my English class. While all this is beside the point, I was privy to a closer glimpse of the person behind this engaging memoir and I was very much impressed. I was able to down this book in two sittings because it flows quickly and seamlessly throughout the narrative of her life. Her carefully constructed snippets of memories and scenes enables the reader to focus on the larger scope and purpose of her story--and that is her spirtual development. I was able to see those points in her life that truly defined and shaped her, through her eyes--and it helped me to better understand my own humanity and spirituality. A must read.
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Format: Hardcover
Although I can certainly see that Darcey Steinke is a skilled writer, I found this memoir a little hard to understand or follow. It's loosely about her spiritual journey through life, but I would be hard pressed to tell you exactly how that journey turned out, even after finishing the book. I found the writing most vivid when it was about her childhood memories, as there she mostly stayed in the concrete. After that, there were confusing jumps from age to age, and from man to man and city to city. The people we had met in the early pages, especially her mother, seemed little present. This is the kind of writing that infuses small moments with what is supposed to be huge meaning. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I think many readers would find this to be a wonderful memoir, but I am perhaps not as sophisticated as those readers, and like a more concrete telling of a life, with a more clear theme.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marcel Louis on March 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Easter Everywhere" made me laugh out loud many times, and brought comfort in ways that few memoirs do. The first half is my favorite; Steinke evokes early childhood to adolescence brilliantly, and even when she makes me laugh at something I probably shouldn't be laughing at (a particularly bad moment for a child experiencing stuttering), the overall stance of this narrative is one of tenderness, acceptance, a friendly hand on the shoulder. The last third of the book is extremely important and I connected with everything there; at times section breaks felt like one or more years was summarized in a sentence. Throughout, though, Steinke reminds me of the poetry organic to daily life. Her ability to honor the confused beauty inside each of us, allowed me to honor parts of my own life I otherwise might have overlooked as "unremarkable" or "too awkward to try to put words to" (those are the very moments it can be most helpful and hopeful to put words to). I've read a hundred memoirs, and Easter Everywhere is one of the top five. Definitely an author I want to follow.
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