Believ­er, Beware: First-Per­son Dis­patch­es from the Mar­gins of Faith

Jeff Sharlet, Peter Manseau and the edi­tors of Killing the Bud­dha, eds.
  • Review
By – August 24, 2011
A Catholic col­lec­tor of Yid­dish books, a Jew in search of Sufis, a witch named Vel­vet, even a les­bian cow­boy at Bible camp. These are just a few of the char­ac­ters you’ll meet in the sur­pris­ing col­lec­tion of essays in Believ­er, Beware. And beware indeed because the authors of each of these essays walk the pre­car­i­ous line between faith and athe­ism, between indi­vid­ual con­vic­tions and fam­i­ly his­to­ry, between the wide­ly accept­ed mores that come with a reli­gious upbring­ing and the some­times uncon­ven­tion­al, some­times dark, and always per­son­al expe­ri­ences these authors have had with reli­gion. 

The writ­ing in this col­lec­tion is exquis­ite. Jeff Sharlet’s Every­body Has a Moth­er, and They All Die” is a notable exam­ple, but each and every essay was a plea­sure to read. But as enjoy­able as the book is, and as light as much of the writ­ing is, the ques­tions the book grap­ples with are pro­found. These essays are inde­pen­dent of each oth­er and many are just a few pages long, mak­ing this the per­fect book to read in between sand­wich bites dur­ing a lunch hour. Con­trib­u­tors’ Notes.

Discussion Questions