Don McLean asked, "Can music save my mortal soul?" In Dawn Eden Goldstein's case, the answer is a resounding "Yes!"; but as regards her immortal soul, the answer is far otherwise.
Sunday Will Never Be The Same is a spiritual memoir, the tale of Dawn's journey first into Christianity and then into the Catholic Church; it is also the tale of Dawn's journey from childhood sexual abuse and PTSD through depression into health; and it is a love story.
It is the story of Dawn's love for rock'n'roll and her life as a rock journalist and historian—an avocation that kept her alive during her deepest depressions; and it is the story of Dawn's love for Jesus, the only one able to love her as she had always wanted to be loved.
Dawn's book is not a sales job; it isn't, "My life was awful and then I met Jesus and now everything is hunky dory!" Far from making your life more comfortable, becoming a practicing Christian often makes it harder; Dawn lost multiple jobs because of her pro-life interests (and a personal bungle or two). Nor is this the dewy-eyed memoir of a very new convert. I wouldn't trust the story if it were.
This is a personal story for me. Back in the early 'oughts, when the blogosphere was so new and all, Dawn had a blog called The Dawn Patrol and I had a blog called The View from the Foothills. The blogosphere was a small pond back then. It was possible to know most of the major blogs and get to know many of the major players, and we did. (Probably few here remember The Truth-Laid Bear's blogging ecosystem, but as I recall I was a "finny fish" at one point—not a mammal, but not bacteria either.) Point is, I was one of Dawn's readers, and we exchanged e-mails on a number of occasions.
And so, in a way, I was there for many of the events this book relates. I remember Dawn's days at the New York Post, and her Chesterton pilgrimage to England, and her posts about Planned Parenthood, and the awful video company. It was on Dawn's blog that I first learned what clinical depression looks like.
Dawn's stories resonated with me, because I was on a journey as well. Raised Catholic, I'd become an Episcopalian when I got married; but in 2003/2004 it was clear to Jane and I that that couldn't last. Dawn's blog was one of many that influenced me on my way back to the Catholic faith (I returned to the Church in the fall of 2007; Jane was confirmed Catholic the following spring). Now Dawn's a professor of theology, and I'm a Lay Dominican who teaches RCIA. Who'da thunk it?
In short, I found Dawn's book to be a nostalgia trip as well as an interesting and enjoyable read. If I have a complaint, it's this: in novelistic terms, she concludes her book at the climax and leaves out the ending. There are loose threads I wanted tied up. Is she still in therapy? Is she still dogged with depression sometimes, or is that now a thing of the past? What about her relationship with her mother?
But, you know, life is like that. It goes on. Faith in Christ brings joy and the hope of salvation, but it doesn't solve all of our problems. (St. Paul had a "thorn in his flesh" to the end of his life, and Christ's grace sufficed for him.) As satisfying as it would be to have all threads tied up neatly, all problems resolved, and happy-ever-after in the offing, that's not how life works. We are all pilgrims on the road; we are all works in progress; and any personal memoir can be only a chapter of the final work.
Anyway, I liked it. Recommended.