From Publishers Weekly
As personal faith stories go, Lickona's is a breath of fresh air, thoughtfully written and happily absent of platitudes and pious moralizing. A 30-year-old husband, father of four and writer for the San Diego Reader
, an alternative weekly, Lickona lives a Catholicism that is orthodox, but also dynamic and relevant to modern culture. He reads Salon
and the Onion
and gleans life lessons from contemporary film and fiction even as he embraces beliefs and traditions rejected by his parents' generation. He admits to being a virgin when he married, and he and his wife practice natural family planning in keeping with their church's ban on artificial birth control. Lickona also wears a scapular, fasts during Lent and has a statue of St. Joseph in his front yard. In writing about these beliefs and practices, he explains how he came to accept them, often after a period of questioning. As he navigates the realm of Catholic faith in the 21st century, Lickona reflects candidly on his failures, foibles and doubts. He confesses to "parish-hopping" in search of a Mass that will not disturb his peace of soul, to personal struggles with "constant wanting" and anger and to his weakness in communicating his faith. Most readers will disagree with Lickona's assessment that he is a poor communicator and will find themselves captivated by this winsome story of a soul. (Apr.)
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Dave Eggers meets G. K. Chesterton in this funny, wise, and acutely perceptive memoir by a precocious young Catholic.
For a wine connoisseur and fan of Nine Inch Nails, 30-year-old Matthew Lickona lives an unusual inner life. He is a Catholic of a decidedly traditional bent (“I believe the same things as my pious old grand-mother”). He wears a scapular, a medieval talisman believed to secure God’s protection. He fasts during Lent. He and his wife shun modern birth control—they waited four nights after their wedding to consummate their marriage. But he is also a writer of prodigious talent, which is on full display in Swimming with Scapulars, a story of a premodern faith lived with a postmodern sensibility.
Lickona knows it isn’t easy to abide by his orthodox Catholicism. His “true confessions” are his painfully honest chronicles of his fitful starts and ongoing efforts to live the faith he is so proud of. (“I believe my faith to be a gift, though the gift may sometimes feel like
a cross to be borne.”) Yet his life as a Catholic is one of great joy, particularly his joy in being intimately connected with God through the sacrament of the Eucharist.
Matthew Lickona is a staff writer and sometime cartoonist for the San Diego Reader, a weekly newspaper. Born and raised in upstate New York, he attended Thomas Aquinas College in California. He lives in La Mesa, California, with his wife Deirdre and their four children.