Astonished: A Story of Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace

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Overview

A bestselling memoirist bravely tells the story of the night evil paid her a visit—and how prayer chased evil away

Beverly Donofrio had already lived two lives, first as a scrappy young mother on the streets of the East Village and later as the bestselling author of Riding in Cars with Boys. By the time she reached her fifties, she thought she had seen it all.

Now, even though she was living in a vibrant, picturesque Mexican town, where she ...

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Astonished: A Story of Healing and Finding Grace

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Overview

A bestselling memoirist bravely tells the story of the night evil paid her a visit—and how prayer chased evil away

Beverly Donofrio had already lived two lives, first as a scrappy young mother on the streets of the East Village and later as the bestselling author of Riding in Cars with Boys. By the time she reached her fifties, she thought she had seen it all.

Now, even though she was living in a vibrant, picturesque Mexican town, where she practiced yoga, drank margaritas in her backyard, and took salsa lessons, she felt lost and was searching for monasteries to visit. The religious practice that had nourished her for several years had faded. She missed God. Then one night she woke to find a rapist holding a knife to her throat. So begins the memoir that charts Donofrio’s journey—a long and twisting road through denial, mourning, anger, vulnerability, and retreat at five very different monasteries.

Told through Donofrio’s brutally honest, often ribald, emotionally unsparing voice, Astonished is a tender and hopeful narrative of healing and learning to love life again.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her third autobiographical work (after Looking for Mary) Donofrio wrestles spiritually with the concept of evil after being raped at knifepoint in her Mexico home. Having finally found her way as a writer midlife, become a pious Catholic, and settled in the old colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, in a house she built herself, Donofrio was 55 and a new grandmother when she was attacked by the town’s serial rapist in her own bedroom one night in June. Her testimony and work with the police soon after helped bring the man to justice, but Donofrio was shaken in her Christian faith, angry at God for allowing such senseless evil, and plunged into a spiritual crisis involving an overwhelming sense of vulnerability and shame. Finding refuge in a monastery seemed the only way to feel truly safe, and the bulk of her thoughtfully circuitous narrative dwells on her six-month pilgrimage to various monasteries, among the Trappists at St. Benedict’s in Snowmass, Colo., the Carmelites at Nada Hermitage in Crestone, Colo., and at her midwife friend Estrella’sHoly Land retreat in the Missouri Ozarks, among other places. Donofrio searched for a deeper relationship to Jesus by immersing herself in prayer, meditation, and writings by the church fathers, saints, and mystics, which she lists in a last chapter; and she even contemplated becoming a nun. Yet the simple act of asking questions proved a salve, as she depicts in this insightful, candidly unfolding, soul-bearing journey to grace. Agent, Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Donofrio has already made her mark with the best-selling Riding in Cars with Boys, translated into 16 languages and made into a film, and Discover pick Looking for Mary. Here she writes about overcoming fear and anger after awakening one night at her home in Mexico with a rapist holding a knife to her throat. Donofrio also recounts time later spent in five monasteries, hoping to touch the face of God. With a five-city tour.
Kirkus Reviews
Donofrio (Looking for Mary, 2000, etc.) recounts her survival from rape at age 55 and subsequent spiritual journey. Best known for Riding in Cars with Boys (1990), her first memoir about her teenage pregnancy and single motherhood, the author was raised Catholic. As an adult, following years without religious practice, Donofrio developed a deep love for and affinity with the Virgin Mary and returned to Catholicism. In 2006, while living peacefully as an expat in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Donofrio awoke to find herself held at knife point by the town's serial rapist. "I did not want to believe in a God that would let this happen," she writes at the book's beginning. After the man was caught weeks later, Donofrio remained unsettled, wrestling with feelings of having been violated and spiritual questions concerning good and evil. In search of stillness and safety, she planned to leave for six months to visit five places, most of which were monasteries. The bulk of the narrative follows this pilgrimage, which included stays with the Trappists at St. Benedict and the Carmelites at Nada Hermitage, both in Colorado, and at a friend's Missouri retreat center. Donofrio devoted her days to prayer and meditation, as well as the study of spiritual writings, which she lists in the narrative. Her story is one of reconciliation; she felt herself grow closer to Jesus while shedding some of her decades-old protective holding patterns and bitterness toward men. She considered, then decided against, becoming a nun. The conclusion of her journey, following her torrent of questions for and about divine power, lies in her realization that her faith is unshakeable and her attack, ultimately, showed her the heart of God. Honest, engaging and cathartic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670025756
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • Publication date: 3/7/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,432,720
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Beverly Donofrio’s first memoir, Riding in Cars with Boys, has been translated into sixteen languages and made into a popular motion picture. Her second memoir, Looking for Mary, began as a documentary on NPR and was chosen as a Discover Book at Barnes & Noble. She lived for four years as a lay Carmelite at Nada Hermitage in Colorado, where she began this book.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

     

     

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    Posted February 27, 2014

    Clyde to lena

    Sorry go to res 4

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    Posted April 12, 2013

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