Monk Downstairs

( 8 )

Overview

Rebecca Martin is a single mother with an apartment to rent and a sense that she has used up her illusions. I had the romantic thing with my first husband, thank you very much, she tells a hapless suitor. I'm thirty-eight years old, and I've got a daughter learning to read and a job I don't quite like. I don't need the violin music. But when the new tenant in her in-law apartment turns out to be Michael Christopher, on the lam after twenty years in a monastery and smack dab in the middle of a dark night of the ...

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Monk Downstairs

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Overview

Rebecca Martin is a single mother with an apartment to rent and a sense that she has used up her illusions. I had the romantic thing with my first husband, thank you very much, she tells a hapless suitor. I'm thirty-eight years old, and I've got a daughter learning to read and a job I don't quite like. I don't need the violin music. But when the new tenant in her in-law apartment turns out to be Michael Christopher, on the lam after twenty years in a monastery and smack dab in the middle of a dark night of the soul, Rebecca begins to suspect that she is not as thoroughly disillusioned as she had thought.

Her daughter, Mary Martha, is delighted with the new arrival, as is Rebecca's mother, Phoebe, a rollicking widow making a new life for herself among the spiritual eccentrics of the coastal town of Bolinas. Even Rebecca's best friend, Bonnie, once a confirmed cynic in matters of the heart, urges Rebecca on. But none of them, Rebecca feels, understands how complicated and dangerous love actually is.

As her unlikely friendship with the ex-monk grows toward something deeper, and Michael wrestles with his despair while adjusting to a second career flipping hamburgers at McDonald's, Rebecca struggles with her own temptation to hope. But it is not until she is brought up short by the realities of life and death that she begins to glimpse the real mystery of love, and the unfathomable depths of faith.

Beautifully written and playfully engaging, this novel. is about one man wrestling with his yearning for a life of contemplation and the need for a life of action in the world. But it's Rebecca's spirit, as well as her relationships with Mary Martha, Phoebe, her irresponsible surfer ex-husband Rory -- and, of course, the monk downstairs -- that makes this story shine.

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Editorial Reviews

Elinor Lipman
I don’t use the word “enthralling” often, but no better adjective applies to Farrington’s warm, intelligent, wry, absolutely wonderful novel.
Diane Leslie
"…a romantic, sometimes calamitous, always good-hearted novel… a thoroughly smart and satisfying read."
Lorna Landvik
“Open it up and prepare to be delighted.”
Gail Hudson
“Vulnerable characters and realistic dialogue...a highly entertaining and inspiring tale of adult love.”
—Diane Leslie
“…a romantic, sometimes calamitous, always good-hearted novel… a thoroughly smart and satisfying read.”
--Diane Leslie
“…a romantic, sometimes calamitous, always good-hearted novel… a thoroughly smart and satisfying read.”
Books & Culture
“The Monk Downstairs is a quiet bit of wisdom...utterly captivating, even enthralling.”
San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“The Monk Downstairs is a nice summer read....keep you turning the pages until the end.”
Booklist
“This gentle, luminous love story shimmers with warmth, honesty, and self-deprecating humor.”
Book Street USA
“Farrington writes startlingly well; there are sentences to marvel at on every page.”
BookPage
“[A] funny, touching love story...laced with elements of spiritualism but never veering far from reality.”
Publishers Weekly
An independent, "unremarkable" single mother of one and an introverted ex-monk are the unlikely couple sharing the spotlight in this delightful, Anne Tyler-ish third novel from the author of 1998's well-received Blues for Hannah. Rebecca, a 38-year-old divorced San Francisco graphic artist, already has plenty on her plate a six-year-old daughter, Mary Martha, and a pot-smoking professional surfer ex-husband, Rory when she rents her downstairs apartment to Michael Christopher, a monk who has just abandoned monastery life after 20 years. She's sure she's not on the market for romance, but when Michael weeds her backyard, manages to befriend no-nonsense Mary Martha and joins Rebecca for intimate cigarette breaks ("little suicides") on the back steps, she finds herself wavering. Much trepidation predictably gives way to heated romance, though Michael wrestles with his crisis of faith via letters back and forth to the abbey brothers, and Rebecca, between bouts of bailing Rory out of jail, questions whether a romantic relationship with a man like Michael would be a true "fall from grace" for them both. Then Rebecca's mother has a stroke, and Rebecca and Michael are forced to make some rushed but pragmatic decisions. Fluent prose, seamless dialogue and a lovingly rendered Bay Area setting lift this novel above the pack. Farrington touches on many of the themes customary to the genre: forbidden fantasies, passionate first kisses, hovering family members and the tribulations of inconceivable relationships and all are mastered with ease and grace. The writer may have adopted a secondhand premise, but he delivers a charmingly written, gratifyingly hopeful tale. Agent, Linda Chester, Linda Chester and Associates. (May) Forecast: West Coast readers in particular will appreciate the quirky, spiritually inflected sweetness of Farrington's fiction. Farrington has been quietly building up a solid body of work, la Stephen McCauley, and The Monk Downstairs should bump his reputation and sales up a healthy notch. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The latest New Age soap opera from Farrington (Blues for Hannah, 1998, etc.) follows the perils and joys of a cloistered monk who moves to San Francisco. Michael Christopher, the erstwhile Brother Jerome, has a lot of adjusting to do. For more than 20 years he was a monk of Our Lady of Bethany monastery in Mendocino County, California, working in the abbey's vineyards and participating in the daily round of prayer, meditation, and silence. He had no trouble with the solitary life-in fact, he wanted more of it, feeling himself increasingly drawn to contemplation. Unfortunately his abbot disagreed, maintaining that he needed to undertake more active work in the vineyard and the abbey parish. So Mike finally washed his hands of the place and left, without any clear idea of what he was leaving for. He moved to San Francisco and rented a small apartment from Rebecca Martin, divorced mother of a six-year-old girl. Rebecca has her hands plenty full: She has a rambunctious daughter to look after, a genial but feckless ex-husband now facing jail time for his third drug bust, a geeky boyfriend who wants to marry her, an aggravating career as a graphic designer that allows her no time to paint, and a busybody mother who's just had a stroke. She could, in other words, use some simplicity in her life. Mike, who has never had a bank account before and happily takes a job at McDonald's, appeals to her in a strange way. He's good with her kid, gets along with everybody, actually listens to what she says, and is pretty damned cute in his severe-haircut way. Mike feels the attraction as well. Can two middle-aged losers take on the world together? With faith, of course, you can move mountains. Sappy,sentimental, and painfully earnest: the sort of silliness that will appeal to anyone who has ever wept over Joseph Campbell or Enya.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061122422
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/23/2006
  • Series: Plus Series
  • Edition description: Plus: Insights, Interviews, and More
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 550,960
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Farrington is the author of Lizzie's War, The Monk Downstairs,—a New York Times Notable Book—and The Monk Upstairs, as well as the critically acclaimed novels The California Book of the Dead and Blues for Hannah.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



Rebecca finally finished painting the in-law apartment on a Friday night, and on Saturday morning she rented it to some poor guy who had just left a monastery. The ad had not even appeared in the papers yet, but she had tucked a tiny Apt. for Rent sign in the front window and he just wandered by and rang the bell. His name was Michael Christopher.

He was a lanky man in his early forties, a little Lincolnesque, with rounded shoulders and a long, sad face muffled by a beard in need of trimming. His hands were too big for his arms and his feet were too big for his legs. His hair was cropped close, the merest new dark stubble on a skull that had obviously been kept shorn until recently. The in-law apartment's ceiling was low and he kept his head ducked a little, whether from fear of smacking it or out of some deeper humility, Rebecca could not tell. It was her impression that he was in no danger if he wanted to straighten up, so maybe the hunch was meekness. He wore plain black trousers, rather rumpled, a shirt that had once been white but had yellowed remarkably, a black jacket with the shoulder seam split, and some white, high-top Converse sneakers from the era before athletic shoes made statements. After twenty years of living a monk's life, he could fit all his other possessions into a comically small black satchel. It looked like a doctor's bag.

"Why did you leave the monastery?" she asked him.

He shrugged. "I had a fight with my abbot. Among other things."

"A fight?"

He smiled, a little wearily. "To put it in layman'sterms."

Rebecca laughed. "Well, that's not very Christian, is it?"

"It's sort of a long story." Christopher hesitated. "I was fed up with that place anyway, to tell you the truth. I had prayed myself into a hole."

The evidence of hotheadedness, along with his frankness, was strangely reassuring. She liked his smile and his unguarded brown eyes. He had no credit history at all, of course. He didn't even have a driver's license. He had a check, some kind of severance pay -- did contemplatives get severance pay? -- that he hadn't been able to get cashed. He had no job as yet. As far as she could determine he had no prospects, no plan, and no résumé. But there was something about him that she liked a lot, a gloomy depth. And there was the appeal of the quixotic. He had devoted his adult life to the contemplation of God. That was his résumé. He had done what she had always intended to do with her own life and flung it into the maw of Meaning in one grand, futile gesture, and he had nothing to show for it but the clothes on his back. He'd been sleeping in the park and he hadn't eaten in three days, but he seemed unperturbed by that. It was all very New Testament.

The apartment showed fast. A bathroom, a minute, stoveless kitchen with a half-fridge on one counter and a hot plate on the other, and the single real room in the place, an 8 x 15 box carpeted in a brown that had not seemed so dishearteningly the color of mud in the samples. The walls, at least, were a fresh cream. Rebecca was proud of her paint job.

The room's lone window opened into the barren backyard. Christopher went right to the glass and stood looking out at the weedy waste. Rebecca could feel his melancholy. It was not much of a prospect.

"I keep meaning to put in a garden back there," she said. "Or something. But there's never any time, it seems. And when there's time, I just want to recover."

"I'd be glad to do some work back there myself. It's a nice space."

"Ah, well--" Rebecca murmured, flustered, assuming he was angling to reduce the rent through work exchange. "If I could afford a gardener..."

His look was genuinely uncomprehending; it had not occurred to him to charge her. Well, that was very New Testament too, of course. But mortgages were Old Testament, and hers was about to balloon. She had been hoping to rent the apartment to a quiet spinster with an obvious income, not a down-and-out man of God.

As they stood there, she clearly heard his stomach growl. Their eyes met. His look was apologetic, with a trace of dry amusement; he had lovely warm brown eyes. Rebecca took him upstairs, gave him a bowl of Cheerios, and introduced him to her daughter. At six years old, Mary Martha was an infallible detector of bullshit. Christopher was immediately easy with the child in an unflamboyant way. So many adults just turned up the volume, as if a kid couldn't hear. But Christopher got quietly attentive, like a shy child himself. The two of them sat at the kitchen table with their twin bowls of cereal and studied the back of the box together. Mary Martha soon was chattering away, and when she invited Christopher to see her unicorns, Rebecca took it as a sign and let him have the apartment.

She was tempted to renege the next day. The deluge of applicants responding to the newspaper ad included a number of solid citizens. But by then she had cashed his monastery check for him and accepted first and last in cash, and he was settled in. And Rebecca had to admit that Christopher's delight in the in-law apartment was charming. She'd never seen a man so grateful for a shower, a hot plate, and a half-fridge.


To Br. James Donovan
c/o Our Lady of Bethany Monastery
Mendocino County, CA

Dear Brother James,

Thank you for...

The Monk Downstairs. Copyright © by Tim Farrington. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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First Chapter

Chapter One



Rebecca finally finished painting the in-law apartment on a Friday night, and on Saturday morning she rented it to some poor guy who had just left a monastery. The ad had not even appeared in the papers yet, but she had tucked a tiny Apt. for Rent sign in the front window and he just wandered by and rang the bell. His name was Michael Christopher.

He was a lanky man in his early forties, a little Lincolnesque, with rounded shoulders and a long, sad face muffled by a beard in need of trimming. His hands were too big for his arms and his feet were too big for his legs. His hair was cropped close, the merest new dark stubble on a skull that had obviously been kept shorn until recently. The in-law apartment's ceiling was low and he kept his head ducked a little, whether from fear of smacking it or out of some deeper humility, Rebecca could not tell. It was her impression that he was in no danger if he wanted to straighten up, so maybe the hunch was meekness. He wore plain black trousers, rather rumpled, a shirt that had once been white but had yellowed remarkably, a black jacket with the shoulder seam split, and some white, high-top Converse sneakers from the era before athletic shoes made statements. After twenty years of living a monk's life, he could fit all his other possessions into a comically small black satchel. It looked like a doctor's bag.

"Why did you leave the monastery?" she asked him.

He shrugged. "I had a fight with my abbot. Among other things."

"A fight?"

He smiled, a little wearily. "To put it in layman's terms."

Rebecca laughed. "Well, that's not very Christian, is it?"

"It's sort of a long story." Christopher hesitated. "I was fed up with that place anyway, to tell you the truth. I had prayed myself into a hole."

The evidence of hotheadedness, along with his frankness, was strangely reassuring. She liked his smile and his unguarded brown eyes. He had no credit history at all, of course. He didn't even have a driver's license. He had a check, some kind of severance pay -- did contemplatives get severance pay? -- that he hadn't been able to get cashed. He had no job as yet. As far as she could determine he had no prospects, no plan, and no résumé. But there was something about him that she liked a lot, a gloomy depth. And there was the appeal of the quixotic. He had devoted his adult life to the contemplation of God. That was his résumé. He had done what she had always intended to do with her own life and flung it into the maw of Meaning in one grand, futile gesture, and he had nothing to show for it but the clothes on his back. He'd been sleeping in the park and he hadn't eaten in three days, but he seemed unperturbed by that. It was all very New Testament.

The apartment showed fast. A bathroom, a minute, stoveless kitchen with a half-fridge on one counter and a hot plate on the other, and the single real room in the place, an 8 x 15 box carpeted in a brown that had not seemed so dishearteningly the color of mud in the samples. The walls, at least, were a fresh cream. Rebecca was proud of her paint job.

The room's lone window opened into the barren backyard. Christopher went right to the glass and stood looking out at the weedy waste. Rebecca could feel his melancholy. It was not much of a prospect.

"I keep meaning to put in a garden back there," she said. "Or something. But there's never any time, it seems. And when there's time, I just want to recover."

"I'd be glad to do some work back there myself. It's a nice space."

"Ah, well--" Rebecca murmured, flustered, assuming he was angling to reduce the rent through work exchange. "If I could afford a gardener..."

His look was genuinely uncomprehending; it had not occurred to him to charge her. Well, that was very New Testament too, of course. But mortgages were Old Testament, and hers was about to balloon. She had been hoping to rent the apartment to a quiet spinster with an obvious income, not a down-and-out man of God.

As they stood there, she clearly heard his stomach growl. Their eyes met. His look was apologetic, with a trace of dry amusement; he had lovely warm brown eyes. Rebecca took him upstairs, gave him a bowl of Cheerios, and introduced him to her daughter. At six years old, Mary Martha was an infallible detector of bullshit. Christopher was immediately easy with the child in an unflamboyant way. So many adults just turned up the volume, as if a kid couldn't hear. But Christopher got quietly attentive, like a shy child himself. The two of them sat at the kitchen table with their twin bowls of cereal and studied the back of the box together. Mary Martha soon was chattering away, and when she invited Christopher to see her unicorns, Rebecca took it as a sign and let him have the apartment.

She was tempted to renege the next day. The deluge of applicants responding to the newspaper ad included a number of solid citizens. But by then she had cashed his monastery check for him and accepted first and last in cash, and he was settled in. And Rebecca had to admit that Christopher's delight in the in-law apartment was charming. She'd never seen a man so grateful for a shower, a hot plate, and a half-fridge.


To Br. James Donovan
c/o Our Lady of Bethany Monastery
Mendocino County, CA

Dear Brother James,

Thank you for...

The Monk Downstairs. Copyright © by Tim Farrington. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Reading Group Guide

Plot Summary:
"Let us face the fact that the monastic vocation tends to present itself to the modern world as a problem and as a scandal." --Thomas Merton


Rebecca Martin is a single mother with an apartment to rent and a sense that she has used up her illusions. "I had the romantic thing with my first husband, thank you very much," she tells a hapless suitor. "I'm thirty-eight years old, and I've got a daughter learning to read and a job I don't quite like. I've got a mortgage. I'm making my middle-aged peace with network television and tomorrow is just another day I've got to get through. I don't need the violin music." But when the new tenant in her in-law apartment turns out to be Michael Christopher, a warm, funny, sneakily attractive man on the lam after twenty years in a monastery and smack dab in the middle of a dark night of the soul, Rebecca begins to suspect that she is not as thoroughly disillusioned as she had thought.

Her six-year-old daughter, Mary Martha, is unambiguously delighted with the new arrival, as is Rebecca's mother, Phoebe, a rollicking widow making a new life for herself among the spiritual eccentrics of Bolinas. Even Rebecca's best friend, Bonnie, once a confirmed cynic in matters of the heart, seems to have lost her sensible imperviousness to romance, and urges Rebecca on. But none of them, Rebecca feels, understand how complicated and dangerous love actually is.

As her unlikely friendship with the ex-monk downstairs grows by fits and starts toward something deeper, and Christopher wrestles with his despair while adjustingto a second career flipping hamburgers at McDonald's, Rebecca struggles with her own temptation to hope. But it is not until her mother suffers an unanticipated crisis and Rebecca is brought up short by the realities of life and death, that she begins to glimpse the real mystery of love, and the unfathomable depths of faith. At once a romantic comedy and a tale of spiritual renewal, The Monk Downstairs is a love story in every sense of the word, a tender exploration of the unforeseeable ways in which individual journeys interweave, and of the ways we are changed by the opening of the heart.

Topics For Discussion:

1. Michael Christopher initially tells Rebecca that he left the monastery because he "had a fight with his abbot." Why do you feel he really left the monastery? What was he looking for? What did he find?

2. When the story opens, Rebecca has reached a point in her relationship with Bob Schofield where he feels emboldened to propose marriage. In refusing him, she realizes that she has been tempted to "settle," to compromise her longing for deep love and intimacy, for the sake of security and simple companionship. Her friend Bonnie suggests that she might be holding out for "the fairy tale thing," while her mother, who has known a fulfilling marriage, tells her briskly that "there's no need to settle for mediocrity." What do you think? What is the balance between realistic compromise in intimacy and the longing for "a marriage of true minds"?

3. In his first letter to Brother James, Michael Christopher says, "There is a prayer that is simply seeing through yourself, seeing your own nothingness, the emptiness impervious to self-assertion. A prayer that is the end of the rope. A helplessness, fathomless and terrifying." Is this an aspect of spirituality you can relate to? What is the difference, if any, between a dark night of the soul and mere depression or despair?

4. What is Rebecca's view of God at the beginning of the novel? What is her view of love? How do these evolve through the course of the story?

5. Mother-daughter relationships are central to the novel. Compare and contrast Rebecca's relationship with Phoebe, her mother, and with her own daughter Mary Martha. What sides of her does each relationship bring out? What kinds of love does each bring into play? What kinds of frustration?

6. What are the crucial points at which Rebecca and Michael Christopher are able to move closer? At what points do they fail to move toward intimacy, and instead move away? Why?

7. Michael Christopher's troubled relationship to his former abbot, Fr. Hackley, has obviously been central to his religious life, and his struggle to comes to terms with it continues to be so even after he leaves the monastery. What is your sense of what the real issues were between the two men? How does the evolution of Christopher's understanding of his former abbot reflect his own spiritual development throughout the book?

8. Similar to Michael Christopher's need to make some peace with Abbot Hackley and what he represents, is Rebecca's challenge in coming to terms with her ex-husband, Rory. What is your understanding of the history between the two? How has the relationship affected Rebecca's view of love? How do the changes in Rebecca's attitude toward ex-husband reflect her own development throughout the book?

9. Rebecca is ambivalent about her job throughout much of the novel. Like her longing for true intimacy, her craving for a fulfilling career is in delicate and conflicted balance with her sense of what is realistic. In what ways does her work at Utopian Images fulfill her and exercise her real gifts? In what ways does it stifle her? How realistic is it to hope for a career that is more than a tedious way to pay the rent?

10. St. Augustine defined a sacrament as "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." There are at least two examples in the novel of unorthodox "sacraments:" the baptism of Sherilous's baby at Stinson Beach, and Michael's Christopher's administration of last rites to Phoebe in the hospital. What is your sense of the spiritual "validity" of these impromptu rituals? What is a true sacrament?

11. Michael Christopher says, "We don't hear much of the danger of prayer, but it is the deepest sea and I believe there are many who are lost en route." What is your sense of the sea of prayer and its hazards? Is it really possible to be lost?

12. In their conversation in the kitchen in Chapter 5, Michael Christopher tells Rebecca the story of the failed love that propelled him into the monastery. How much of his commitment to the religious life do you think was a positive longing for God, and how much was simple flight from the challenges of intimacy and work in the real world? Is a true monastic vocation possible?

13. On the morning after their first night together, Rebecca and Michael Christopher run aground on his reluctance to let their relationship pass into a more public knowledge. What is your reading of the situation, and of Christopher's conflictedness? Do you think Rebecca overreacts?

14. In one of his letters to brother James, Michael Christopher describes God as "an unfathomable darkness," and the peace of God's presence as a perfect silence and "a kind of nowhere." How does a radical unknowing like this differ from atheism? In theological terms, Christopher's spirituality could be characterized as a via negativa or "apophatic" approach to God, a focus on God's ultimate unknowability, in contrast to the more familiar kataphatic path in which God is known and loved through an emphasis on divine attributes such as love, mercy, and justice. What is the place of a dark night spirituality such as Christopher's? Is it compatible with life in "the world"? Wouldn't it be better if he just, like, lightened up a little?

15. How does her mother's crisis affect Rebecca? How does it affect Mike? How does it change their relationship?

16. Do you think Rory is really ready to change, after the judge lets him off the hook? Does his relationship with Chelsea have a chance to succeed?

17. One of the book's central themes is stated in the contrast between the active Martha and the devotional Mary in the book epigraph from Luke 10. Discuss your own sense of the balance between the life of busy service and the contemplative life, and how the theme plays out in the novel.

About the Author:

Tim Farrington's previous novels include The California Book of the Dead and Blues for Hannah. He lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in an unheated apartment too small for a cat.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013

    Loved the characters!

    I can't wait to read the second book. I fell in love with the characters and can't wait to see how it turns out. It was a quick read and very enjoyable. It was one of our book club selections, and I would most definitely recommend it to family and friend. :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2013

    A memorable relationship

    Love the monk. I read this many years ago and still think of him.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2007

    Funny, thoughtful

    The story is quite sweet. However, what makes this story great is Farrington's way with words. The story is told with wit, great imagery, and some impressive one-liners.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2002

    A "Feel Good" Read

    This delightful book offers a warm mix of feelings as the two main characters learn to adjust to their own life changes as well as making space for each other. Farrington is indeed a sensitive writer who throws in enough humor to bring a smile to your face when you least expect it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2014

    This book tells the fragile story of Rebecca and Michael as the

    This book tells the fragile story of Rebecca and Michael as they embark on a messy, fabulous journey toward love and meaning.

    What makes this more than a "love story," though, is Farrington's ability to capture the complications of romantic intimacy and individual spriituality with a light touch and keen insight. Both Rebecca and Michael come to the relationship with plenty of baggage, and it is Farrington's ability to tell their story with wisdom and wit, in careful, kind words that makes this story exceptional. Read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2004

    Tiring...

    Do people really talk like this? I was more interested in the minor characters. They seemed more like people I could relate to. I wish I had spent the hours on a book that gave me more to contemplate. A better book about relationships and romance is I Capture the Castle.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2002

    too shallow

    I liked the plot -- a monk, who leaves the monastery and discovers that a 6-year-old girl (or small children in general) understands life better than he does after years of meditation. Because of his long celibacy and loneliness, he approaches secular life cautiously and thoughtfully. So far, so good. What I did not like were the boring dialogues and the many occasions when the author needs to tell us that something was funny because it really wasn't. Also, the couple's arguments rarely made sense.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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