Choosing My Religion: A Memoir of a Family Beyond Belief

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9780061132995: Choosing My Religion: A Memoir of a Family Beyond Belief

Choosing My Religion is a luminous memoir, crafted with the eye of a journalist and the art of a novelist by New York Times Magazine writer and editor Stephen J. Dubner. By turns comic and heartbreaking, it tells the story of a family torn apart by religion, sustained by faith, and reunited by truth.

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"Choosing My Religion," Stephen Dubner's 1996 cover story for The New York Times Magazine, described his conversion from Catholicism to Judaism. The drama and complexity of Dubner's conversion were intensified by the author's unusual religious history: before Dubner was born, his parents had made an equal and opposite conversion from Judaism to Catholicism. Dubner's memoir, Turbulent Souls, expands the story he first told in the Times essay. In the book's prelude, Dubner explains that he began his wandering toward conversion in the 1980s when he moved to New York City, "the most Jewish city outside of Israel."

There a certain disquietude began to take root inside me. I could not name this force, but neither could I make it leave me. And so I followed the noise inside my soul, and before long it led me back to my parents. I became consumed with a desire to know how a pair of young Jews named Florence Greenglass and Sol Dubner had become my Catholic parents.
Turbulent Souls is full of loving, witty anecdotes about his childhood in rural New York state (he refers to Mrs. Ferry, a catechism teacher who gave him Doublemint gum, as "Blessed Angel of the Sugar Deprived") and his efforts in adulthood to reconstruct both his and his parents' pasts. The best reason to read this book is Dubner's well-balanced thirst for explanation and reverence for mystery; it's a model of the equilibrium every one of us has to attain if we want to make peace with our families, our home towns, and our selves. --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

Stephen J. Dubner is an award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality. He quit his first career—as an almost rock star—to become a writer. He has since taught English at Columbia, worked for The New York Times, and published three non-Freakonomics books.

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