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From The CriticsThis memoir chronicles the travels of an Australian Jesuit priest who takes his widowed mother on the European vacation she always planned for but never went on. A wry observer of human behavior—his own and that of his often eccentric companions, particularly his mom ("a great believer in the Things You Get For Free")—McGirr records insights on home, spirituality and the baggage people carry with them. The pilgrimage becomes a personal catharsis, as the author confronts repressed emotions, particularly about sex and death. Having decided to become a priest in his last year of high school as a way of fleeing home and avoiding dealing with his father's death, he notes that "sex and grief are deeply intermeshed. I went through my [St.] Augustine period at the same time I was going through my AC/DC period." McGirr's prose is spare and occasionally touches the sublime. This wise, funny book is a celebration of traveling light.