Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything

Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything

by Barbara Ehrenreich


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From the New York Times bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed comes a brave, frank, and exquisitely written memoir that will change the way you see the world.

Barbara Ehrenreich is one of the most important thinkers of our time. Educated as a scientist, she is an author, journalist, activist, and advocate for social justice. In LIVING WITH A WILD GOD, she recounts her quest-beginning in childhood-to find "the Truth" about the universe and everything else: What's really going on? Why are we here? In middle age, she rediscovered the journal she had kept during her tumultuous adolescence, which records an event so strange, so cataclysmic, that she had never, in all the intervening years, written or spoken about it to anyone. It was the kind of event that people call a "mystical experience"-and, to a steadfast atheist and rationalist, nothing less than shattering.

In LIVING WITH A WILD GOD, Ehrenreich reconstructs her childhood mission, bringing an older woman's wry and erudite perspective to a young girl's impassioned obsession with the questions that, at one point or another, torment us all. The result is both deeply personal and cosmically sweeping-a searing memoir and a profound reflection on science, religion, and the human condition. With her signature combination of intellectual rigor and uninhibited imagination, Ehrenreich offers a true literary achievement-a work that has the power not only to entertain but amaze.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455501748
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 04/21/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 339,626
Product dimensions: 5.37(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of 14 books, including the bestselling Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. She lives in Virginia.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Chapter 1 The Situation 1

Chapter 2 Typing Practice 28

Chapter 3 The Trees Step Out of the Forest 63

Chapter 4 A Land without Details 88

Chapter 5 All, All Alone 120

Chapter 6 Encounter in Lone Pine 145

Chapter 7 Breakdown 171

Chapter 8 Anomalous Oscillations 197

Chapter 9 Suicide and Guilt 231

Chapter 10 Joining the Species 253

Chapter 11 Return to the Quest 278

Chapter 12 The Nature of the Other 302

Acknowledgments 333

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Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
high_hackles More than 1 year ago
This is an autobiography centered around events of the author's childhood. These mystical events are never described, so the suspense of the story is unresolved. The author proclaims herself an atheist and seems to remain so, even after confronting her mystical experiences much later in life. Her memory seems unable to go beyond or deeper than her diary entries and that is unfortunate. The reader is left asking "What happened that ws so powerful, yet not memorable enough to recall." This is not quite as meaty a read as the author's previous works.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She's a progressive activist, an engaging and successful political writer--I like her books--and a lifelong atheist. When she was a teenager she kept a journal. She had a mystical experience. It continues to baffle her. So far, so good. But 256 pages?
Charlottes-son More than 1 year ago
This is one of those deep books. This is one that you have to put down now and then to think about what you just read. I have never read any of Barbara Ehrenreich's writings before, but did ask around about her. She is known. She writes well. by that i mean, it flows easily, and moves along. I am not much on trying to prove my existence, as much as looking down and seeing that i am there. however the examination of these questions enlightens the existence and there by enjoyable to me. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She does an excellent job of walking through her journey on the answer to it all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very disappointing.  If you're curious, just get it from the library.  This book presents a very unflattering look of\at the author's personality: pompous, very impressed with her intelligence.  I bought this because I was a huge fan of Nickel and Dimed, and because I was intrigued by this mystical experience that she was supposed to tell us about.  The big build up led to very little in the way of  describing what she experienced, and considering that this was the crux of the story, it was completely disappointing.  The book seemed to be an exercise in her telling us how smart she is, which I'm sure is true, but what this has to do with her belief or nonbelief system and the title of the book is undeveloped and unclear to say the least.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A flash of light, warmth, transcendence, pleasure, light, vision, boyfriend, sensation, adolescence, new emotions. That is what Ehrenreich experienced. What does this mean? In 250+ pages, Ehrenreich tries to tell us. She says this was a mystical experience. My women's reading club came to a different conclusion. Barbara Ehrenreich was having her first orgasm, or maybe her first multiple orgasm. Maybe the title of this book should be Wild God: My First Orgasm.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We chose this book for book club, I got halfway through and can't go any further. I felt like I was reading the ramblings of a self absorbed woman stuck in her past. Would not recommend to anyone, the book club is currently finding a replacement.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i finished the book i was very disapointed. To think that the author gets away with it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Based on its title and description this is not a book I would normally choose to read. I read this book because it was chosen by a member of my book club. The first 1/3 of the book the author seemed intent on throwing a lot of words at me that I had to look up. In spite of the author being a pedant (look it up) I found myself becoming invested in the protagonist which compelled me to finish. The last 2/3 of the book was quite enjoyable. All in all it was OK.
Basil More than 1 year ago
At age 13, or thereabouts, precocious Barbara Ehrenreich embarked on exploring the vexing philosophical conundrum: "What is the point of our brief existence? What are we doing here and to what end?" The result, after years of early field work and mature reflection, is "Living with a Wild God." Why the title? "The one place I never thought to look for answers was religion," Ehrenreich recalls. "That approach had been foreclosed at some point in the late nineteenth century when, according to my father, his grandmother Mamie McLaughlin renounced the Catholic faith." At home "We did not believe, and what this meant, when I started on the path of metaphysical questioning, was that there were no ready answers at hand," Ehrenreich recalls. Visions of hell didn't discomfit her, "but it wasn't easy being a child atheist...At school, I tried to blend in by mouthing the 'Lord's Prayer' along with everyone else..." But on Wednesday there was nothing to hide. Then the other kids were bussed off to religious training classes at various churches while the young outsider remained at her desk. And that wasn't the worst. There were times she was "taunted after school for being a 'communist'...once some boys picked up rocks and chased me home, but I outran them." These are the more charming parts of "Living with a Wild God." Elsewhere, she'll probably be in many a reader's face with her insistence on super intelligence (although, true, she's Ph.D smart)and dark judgmental observations. In short, too often not a very attractive person.
discerningwoman More than 1 year ago
I am a woman of almost the same age as the author, and as a "seeker" of truth and what's really going on, the title of this book was a total misnomer. In my mind, she has no God as I understand God. At times, it was so wordy, that I had to reread the sentence or paragraph several times and still couldn't relate to the meaning. I found some of her references interesting, but not as a believer in God and creation.