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Wishful Thinking

How I Lost My Faith and Why I Want to Find It

This heart-wrenching, unflinchingly honest memoir follows a woman’s search to reclaim her lost faith, against all odds—perfect for fans of Lauren Winner and Kate Bowler. Donna Freitas wants to believe. Raised Catholic, she sang songs about Jesus as a child and lived in a house where nuns and priests were regular guests, yet she found herself questioning the faith of her family, examining the reasons none of it added up, and distancing herself from the God of Christianity.

Despite her questions—or perhaps because of them—she made a career out of trying to understand God, pursuing a Ph.D. in religion. But even as she taught college students about mystics, theologians, and others who wrestled with God, she was never able to embrace a faith of her own.

In this searingly-honest and deeply personal book, Freitas retraces her roundabout path up and out of the wilderness toward hope, and her dogged—and ongoing—search for faith. She talks about her experience with the Catholic abuse scandal; about being embraced as a speaker at evangelical colleges; about how the death of her mother and the loss of her marriage made her question everything she thought she knew about love; how she cannot reconcile the ways the concept of God makes absolutely no sense; and how she cannot stop trying to believe, despite it all.

Real, raw, and beautifully-written, Wishful Thinking is a powerful story about the author’s search for belief in God, and of finding God in the most unexpected places.
Publishers WeeklyStarred Review
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“Freitas’s prose is engaging and precise, and her what-if format proves ideal for elegantly unpacking the tensions of the plot. She balances tightly written scenes of confrontation with Rose’s poignant reflections on how much she can compromise without losing herself completely. This isn’t one to miss.“
BooklistStarred Review
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“Fans of Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life, Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot, and the film Sliding Doors will find themselves happily lost in this charming, heartfelt, thought-provoking novel.”
Kirkus ReviewsStarred Review
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“Reminiscent of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life or the movie Sliding Doors, Freitas’ novel explores nine (but certainly not all) possible outcomes when a woman who has never wanted children marries a man who gradually decides he does….Following the maze of numbered takes becomes an addictive game, highly literate escapism, like watching The Queen’s Gambit….Highly readable and provocative.”
Jill SantapauloNew York Times bestselling author of More Than Words
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“In a powerful exploration of motherhood and feminism, Donna Freitas probes the ties that bind us all to one another through love, through obligation and through choice. At once thought provoking and emotionally moving, this novel will have readers examining their own relationships and their own ‘what-ifs.’”
Karma Brownbestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife
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“In this unflinching exploration of motherhood, Donna Freitas delivers a self-assured novel that questions if female agency is realistic in a world that expects conformity. In captivating Sliding Doors style, we’re offered an intimate glimpse into the nine different lives of one woman as she struggles to define womanhood. Riveting, astute and brazenly honest, The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano has left an indelible mark—I won't soon forget it.”
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