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The Dark Path: A Memoir Hardcover – September 12, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (September 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159448645X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594486456
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. It&'s no surprise when Schickler (Kissing in Manhattan) recounts his inner revelation— You&'ll never be a priest—halfway through this memoir about his years in discernment, weighing whether to pursue the life of a Catholic priest or simply to pursue beautiful women. Yet Schickler&'s raw truth narrative—which leaves no story untold, from poignant conversations with his hardy father to kinky behavior with a hotel concierge—never fails to keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat. His seamless weaving of storytelling, dialogue, and thoughts—funny one second and heart-wrenching the next—makes this journey of belief and nonbelief unforgettable and enjoyable. Here&'s what else is bullshit, Lack-of-God. It&'s bullshit that priests always told me that celibate priesthood is Something Higher, Schickler laments one evening. This tale contains equal amounts of irreverence and holiness, and their combination makes the narrative pure. Agent: Jennifer Carlson, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Sept.)

From Booklist

Since he was a young boy, Schickler (Kissing in Manhattan, 2001) grappled with twin desires, to become a Catholic priest and to revel in the company of women. Raised in a staunch Catholic family in upstate New York, he first sensed God along “the dark path” that meandered through the woods behind his house. He posed many questions to Him/Her, often about the women he was dating. “Dear God, will (insert current girlfriend’s name here) be my wife?” Schickler’s conflict of conscience intensified in college, where he engaged in serious inquiry about becoming a Jesuit, all the while dating women with various degrees of faith. After graduation, he took a job teaching at a prep school in Vermont, where a troubled student and crippling leg pain only added to his malaise. He began seeing a psychiatrist but long resisted taking his prescribed antidepressants. As time went on, Schickler wondered if he would ever find the path, dark or light, that would be right for him. Full of pathos and humor, Schickler’s memoir explores just what it means to feel love and have faith. --Allison Block

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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I am glad he shared his life journey and faith journey.
scesq
His use of language made you feel what he felt, and for the most part, you really could experience his life through his writing in a raw, totally honest way.
Debra
If you did not think it was that funny, let me know... please!!
Jay

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Neal C. Reynolds VINE VOICE on September 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are laughs here, but primarily, there's self-reflection. Paramount at the beginning is the conflict between his urge to become a Roman Catholic priest and his obsession and desire (from the age of 10) for girls and then with maturity women. Guess which wins.

He's fluent with the swear words, but I believe that is for the purpose of exhibiting very strong and impassioned feelings, not for the sake of the language itself. There's lots of sex here and that's to be expected considering his obsession with women.

So if you're willing to read the thoughts of a person who very well may reflect some of your own, this is the book for you. The writing is truly good and your reading will be easy, so if you're not all that sensitive to the language and sex, this is for you. (Otherwise, it's not)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Stephenson on October 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really struggled how to rate this book. Schickler has talent as a writer - as testified to how I finished reading a book I didn't like very much. Talent-wise, prose-wise, I would give it a four. But ultimately, I based the rating on this: would I recommend it to a friend? No. Why? For one thing, a lot of it, especially the first half, seems akin to revenge-porn, spending way too much time describing small slights (someone wrote a mean thing in his yearbook - gasp!) and otherwise spending a lot of time singing the "somebody done somebody wrong" song. Schickler's treatment and style of writing about his ex-girlfriends seems like literary stalking, and at times sounds close to literally stalking in practice. And his "kiss-and-seeming-to-relish-the-tell" stories strike me as sometimes just mean-spirited, like he was either trying to get back at his ex-girlfriends, or even more slimy, letting their current husbands know ALL about his past with them. Though he says he has changed the names of everyone, without some major fudging, there is no way that the key people, and their family and friends, will fail to realize who he is talking about. After all, if you have only one main female obsession in college, who else could it be? Or that priest who came on to you, the only one you ever spent time with? Ditto. And so on throughout the book. Maybe this was catharsis by art - and maybe he thought if people will pay him a few bucks for it, why not?

One of the main threads, suggested by both the cover artwork and the Salon review that got me interested in the book in the first place, is in regards to spirituality and religion. If that is something that caught your interest too, prepare to be disappointed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Debra VINE VOICE on July 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
People have a habit of reviewing memoirs based on the person's worldview and choices. I hate that. While I have a totally different religious perspective, and different perspectives on almost everything, I absolutely loved this book.

I couldn't help but fall in love with his absolutely brutal honesty. He writes with candor that most people can't even use in private. He swears a lot, but I felt like it was to convey the strength of a thought or emotion and not gratuitious. His use of language made you feel what he felt, and for the most part, you really could experience his life through his writing in a raw, totally honest way. I admire his honesty and his transparency. He's real and you walk away feeling like you knew him, walked in his shoes, and suffered some of his pain, and experienced some of his victory.

He's also an absolutely incredible writer. Both the story and the writing are captivating. I literally read the book in one day - I couldn't put it down.

If you're the type of person that needs to agree with what the author's writing this may not be your cup of tea, but if you can appreciate a memoir on its own and someone's perspective about it, I can't recommend this one highly enough. I wish I had 10 more like it on my shelf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Adams on July 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover
My older brother is a Catholic priest and my oldest sister is a Catholic nun. When I grew up watching my older brother discern the priesthood, he did it in a thoughtful, weighty manner, as he - like the many billions of other men on this planet - was quite attracted to women too. However, he ultimately was overwhelmed by the calling and is an amazing priest who has served thousands in multiple parishes throughout the world. Reading this book felt like the author had not really paid that close of attention to his calling, and at the end of the book he still sounds wishy-washy, not unlike millions on this earth. I finished the book, which is a testament to the fact that it is readable, but I could not help but feel that this was simply a side project while he maintained his focus on his main job (creating/writing a Cinemax TV show). I know that when you have the creative juices flowing you tend to write more, and this memoir felt like a semblance of late nights where Shickler was able to jot down some vague scenes from his life. However, the entire time I felt that if he had really felt a calling to the priesthood, he would have done more than had a few talks with God every few years. The way he wrote it, it felt like the experience of most Catholic boys (that I know) growing up, finding out about vocations, women and life itself. In that sense, I wondered aloud: "If all you have to do is write a few vignettes from your life to get a book deal, I might as well do it." Watching my brother and sister in their religious vocations has not always made sense to me, but it has always been beautiful. When Shickler mentions his other book (which I have not read) which invokes people being tied up and sexually enslaved, I am thanking God that he did not become a priest.
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