It's been a long time since I have done a book review/write-up, but thought that I would give it a chance again (especially since it seems like I have been reading a lot more these days). With that being said I thought I would write something up about a book I first heard about this book from a parishioner who handed me a piece of paper with the words “Drunks and Monks” written on it. All she said was, “Father, you have to read this book.” Well, with that kind of recommendation, I felt like I had to read it!
This book is in a certain sense a semi-autobiography by John Carmichael, who tries to figure out what is going on in his life. The book reads fairly easy, and in certain sections of the book it almost feels like you are walking on the journey with him. It is quite evident, though, that Carmichael is not a professional writer, as it seems like his style of writing is choppy and almost written like he does not care too much about the literary style. This, at first can be a bit distracting, but the more you read, the more you get used to it.
The story of Carmichael’s life helps one understand what a journey of faith can look like when filled with many ups and downs. Carmichael tries to fill the void in his life with worldly pleasures of alcohol, drugs, lust, etc. Although he realizes that these are just fleeting, they are still attractive to him, and he has a hard time separating from them. In his journey of faith, Carmichael is able to come to certain realizations of who he is and why he is the way he is.
One of the great things about this book is the way in which Carmichael explains his lack of knowledge of the faith. Put bluntly: he just didn’t have any faith. When he comes to this realization, he is becomes angry that he was not taught many of the great things about the faith. Eventually, he realizes that he has no one to blame but himself. However, as a priest reading this book, it helps in explaining how people were formed in his generation and how the lack of knowledge about the Catholic faith in his generation has affected the world we know today.
As mentioned this is a fairly easy book to read. However, Carmichael puts some great quotes from Church teachings and Saints in the book, too, that help the reader go deeper into their faith. This book has already helped me in the sacrament of confession to be able to relate with people on their journey, as well as motivate me to spread the truth about the faith even more abundantly. I would not necessary recommend this book to everyone, because of some of the more scandalous parts of it. However, I would recommend this book to people who are struggling with addictions, a lack of faith, or anyone who is younger than 50, as that is the generation that Carmichael is writing to.
As of now I believe that the only place that you can get this book is by downloading it from Kindle. Here is the link to the Amazon page where you can look more into it and download it. Please let me know if you read the book, as it would be great to discuss with other people, if they want to.