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Love & Salt: A Spiritual Friendship Shared in Letters Paperback – February 1, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Combining a modern sensibility with ancient spiritual wisdom, Love and Salt vividly demonstrates how two friends can become companions on the road to God."
--The 2014 Christopher Awards


"There's so much to love here: two articulate women who are not afraid to share their doubts and flaws as well as their joys and discoveries. It's not that much of a stretch to call this something like an epistolary novel: you'll get involved in their lives. You'll wonder how the story is going to turn out. You'll encounter love and loss, crises and triumphs, but throughout it hear these moving, honest voices—hungry for God yet vulnerable, wise, and true to one another."
--Gregory Wolfe, publisher of IMAGE



“I want to shove this book into the hands of everyone with a skewed, incomplete vision of what it means to live a faithful Christian life ... Here is a testimony to what the life of faith is really like. It is messy. It is lovely. It is heartbreaking. It is joyful. It is paradox. It is true.”
- Ellen Painter Dollar, No Easy Choice


“Their letter-writing takes on that tone common to those of us who have read the exchanges between C.S. Lewis and Sheldon Vanauken. Intimate missives about God and doubt. Imploring questions about the mysteries of life and the certainty of death.”
- Karen Spears Zacharias, Patheos


 “Love & Salt is an achingly beautiful new book … each [letter] a deep soul dive that leaves you savoring, while yearning for the next – revealing an exquisite, honest, heart-breaking and ultimately hopeful portrait of two lives deeply lived, contemplated, shared, and redeemed in the context of the search for God.”
- Debra Arca, Managing Editor Patheos


 “Without giving too much away, I can safely tell you that this book is life-changing… The reading is so enjoyable, I stayed up far past my bedtime, enraptured by the letters.”
- Laura Booz, Blogger Behave, Ten Million Miles


“The first word that comes to mind in describing Jess and Amy’s letters to each other is luxurious … the authors held each day up like a prism to examine for its various light and dark effects … They also chronicle the aesthetic evolution of two very gifted writers.”
- Elizabeth Duffy, The Constant Convert


 "As I choose my own Lenten practice, I know I will be accompanied by... the articulate and brave writers, Amy and Jessica, of Love and Salt."
- Elizabeth Nordquist, A Musing Amma


“This book is sincere in the most beautiful expression of that word. You read a part of the two women’s souls… feel yourself wrenched along lives filled with questions… I have no doubt that, a year from now, I will still be raving about this book. It is one of the best examples of 'spiritual memoir' I have ever read, told in conversation and by real people … Highly, highly, HIGHLY recommended.”
- Sarah Reinhard, The Snoring Scholar


"It is hard not to treat this book, so uncommonly honest, almost with reverence, for within its pages lies such personal and raw emotion that treating it with anything less would feel wrong."
--Catholic News Service


"Love and Salt is full of sacramental imagination. Amy Andrews and Jessica Mesman Griffith render things like a walk through a graveyard, a dream about an elevator, and a Neil Young song into something else entirely…These writers are practiced at seeing Catholicly: casting a sacramental glance at the world." 
--The Christian Century

About the Author

Jessica Mesman Griffith's writing has appeared in many publications, including Image and Elle, and has been noted in Best American Essays. She has contributed many essays to the Image blog, Good Letters: imagejournal.org/page/blog/She lives in Virginia with her husband and children.

Amy Andrews is a recipient of the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction and teaches mathematics at Northwestern University. She lives in Evanston with her husband and two children.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Loyola Press (February 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0829438319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829438314
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kathleen Tarr on January 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I feel such love for Love & Salt. I haven't read anything else like it before. The letters which are really prose poems, are so full of LIFE. And good humor. And self-doubt. And questioning. And piety. Devotion. Stories from the everyday made more powerful because of the literary, philosophical, theological, cultural references interspersed. Two women who are brilliant and struggling to understand what it is to be a woman in this era and to be nearer to God. One a newly converted Catholic, and one life-long. To be professed as such, but not to be sitting on one's religious laurels, as if to say, "Ah, well....I am a Catholic, and that is decided, and I'll go through the Catholic motions and rituals and all will be alright. No need to think much anymore, no need to sort things out. The Church will do that for me."

This intellectually rich book is poignant and life-giving. Who can say that the spirituality genre is formulaic, full of Chicken-soup garbage, fraught with cliché, and weighed down by religious propaganda? NOT this book. This book is timeless and beautifully and soulfully written. A testimony to friendship, meditative, humorous, one that will make you think and stir you to joy.

In its essence, Love & Salt is the powerful story of two souls journeying toward one another and to the mystery. An Emily Dickinson line comes to mind: Life is not all conclusion. I love all the mystery in this book.

Love & Salt symbolizes the times we live in when everything is so incredibly hurried and harried, and no one STOPS. Certainly not to stop long enough to write an old-fashioned letter and to affix a stamp! And they are anything but commonplace letters.

This is the kind of book I'll buy for friends. I will teach from it. I will read it often and read passages aloud. A story of love and friendship--through the salt of tears and the salt that binds. I will hold this book dear.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this memoir in letters. It may sound like an exaggeration, but I really feel changed by the experience of having read this book. The narrative created through the exchange of letters is intense--and intensely personal--and the reader can't help but feel drawn into this close conversation between Amy and Jessica. There's a wonderful balance between the two women's voices--a balance between the rational and the emotional, the earth-bound and the divine--and a full exploration of the self as individual, mother, wife, sister, and daughter. The book left me turning over my own understandings of death and faith and motherhood, and reexamining them against the light of Amy and Jessica's prose. This is the best a reader can ask of any book--to find that it holds her own beliefs and experiences to the fire, tests them, and in the testing shifts, confirms, or deepens them. This is a wonderful, moving, thought-provoking book. It kept me awake until the wee hours because I was too gripped and moved to stop reading.
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Format: Paperback
This book is more than a beautiful, moving story -- it is a keepsake of a special friendship deepened through time and joy and grief. Not only is it admirable that these women kept up the practice of writing letters to each other over the span of years, but these letters are the most elegant little packages of prose that, when read together, come to form a beautiful arc of a story. Their conversations touch on the mundane and the profound, everyday moments and larger questions of eternity. The resulting narrative unfolds organically and takes on such remarkable symbolism, symmetry, and thematic unity. There's the repetition of the liturgical year highlighted by the the way the letters are organized; there's the matching rhythms of these women's lives as they both leave graduate school, get married, start new jobs, dream of a family -- and the way that rhythm is momentarily interrupted by tragedy; there are images of life and death, as well as visions and foreshadowings. The beauty of all these patterns is that they are unplanned and yet, rather than going unnoticed, are brought to the surface by two seeking, observant, and eloquent minds. By persistently searching for meaning in the everyday and unfailingly recounting those moments to each other, over time, the themes and metaphors in these women's lives emerge to tell a fully formed story. In generously sharing these conversations with us, they allow us to journey alongside them as well as to see the larger significance that their days take on.
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It's exquisite. Your thinking, writing, feeling, and living will improve from Amy and Jessica's company.

Truth be told, I'm writing this review weeks after I thought I would. For all of the right reasons, this book took me far longer to read and digest than I had planned. At first, I was on track to complete a first read-through within a few days! The reading is so deeply enjoyable, I stayed up far past my bedtime, enraptured by the letters. But things changed three-quarters of the way through. I needed time to process the authors' friendship, thoughts, and losses. I spent a week just thinking things over. One day, I knew it was time to finish the book. I discovered that it had sunk down in my bedside pile of books until it lay on the bottom, covered by lighter reads, a tin of lotion, and a vanilla soy candle. I couldn't deny the symbolism of recovering the book from its depths and opening it again, to discover the redemption and honesty of the ending. This was the perfect book to begin 2013, instructing my heart in friendship, honesty, trust, and a deeper faith in God. Best of all, it reminded me of my daughter Juliette, whose grave taught me about the sting of death, but whose spirit taught me about Jesus, the Victor who swallowed it whole.
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