Friday, 18 January 2013

"Surprised by Oxford" by Carolyn Weber

Title: Surprised by Joy
        A Memoir
Author: Carolyn Weber
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: 2011
ISBN-10: 0849946115

I requested "Surprised by Oxford" as I wanted to know more about Oxford and its history before visiting it. The author, Carolyn Weber, is Canadian and I found it very interesting to see the town through her eyes. "Surprised by Oxford" is a treasure trove of interesting information studded with literary quotations. Did you know there are signs of fish carved in the pavements by Christians during pagan times? That's just one piece of trivia I learned. I loved reading about the nooklike bookstores, the adverts for shows and plays stuck up on the glass in the bright red phone booths . . .

But this book is so much more than just a book about Oxford. It's the story of an agnostic student from Canada and her journey through the academic liturgical year to a relationship with a loving God as she becomes a Christian. She writes about her experiences and intellectual struggles with a refreshing transparency and honesty that had me laughing and crying by turn.

It's also the story of her developing romance and all its ups and downs with TDH (Tall, Dark and Handsome) who became her husband.

Although this book is often very down-to-earth, it also includes intellectual philosophical discussions and lectures which I sometimes found myself skipping over as some were abstract and hard to follow, others did not make sense to me.

I highly recommend this fascinating memoir, it's a long read, but a really good one.

Thank you to BookSneeze and Thomas Nelson for a free electronic review copy. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions expressed above are my own.