An NPR Best Book of 2017
As a young girl, Maggie Rowe took the idea of salvation very seriously. Growing up in a moderately religious household, her fear of eternal damnation turned into a childhood terror that drove her to become an outrageously dedicated Born-again Christian —regularly slinging Bible verses in cutthroat scripture memorization competitions and assaulting strangers at shopping malls with the “good news” that they were going to hell.
Finally, at nineteen, crippled by her fear, she checked herself in to an Evangelical psychiatric facility—and that is where her journey really began. Surrounded by a ragtag cast of characters, including a former biker meth-head struggling with anger management issues, a set of identical twins tormented by erotic fantasies, a World War II veteran and artist of denial who insists that he’s only “locked up for a tune-up,” and a warm and upbeat chronic depressive who becomes the author’s closest ally, Maggie launches a campaign to, in the words of Martin Luther, “Sin bravely in order to know the forgiveness of God.”
Told in a voice both funny and heartfelt, Sin Bravely is a tour de force, voice-driven debut that examines how one woman finally found the middle ground between Heaven and Hell.
Rowe deftly juxtaposes dark humor with raw emotion without ever yanking the reader out of the story.
An enthusiastic chronicle of how one woman’s religious passion almost swallowed her whole.
Brimming with characters wacky and sincere.
A gripping exploration of the necessity of disobedience on the road to authenticity. A beautifully written, deeply funny memoir.
Rowe’s fantastic book is a born-again version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest...Not for the faint of heart, this is a cutting examination of Rowe’s spiritual evolution that plunges into the big questions with the fearlessness found in the most brilliant of comics.
Readers who have wrestled with self-doubt over the strength of their convictions will find a funny, frank companion in this frantically compelling memoir...Rowe’s book does not provide easy answers, but her capacity to eventually sin bravely signals a new beginning. This engaging and adventurous book is an excellent companion for fellow seekers
This book is so honest, so chock full of struggle and philosophical profundity —and ultimately so heartbreakingly funny— that one is only left to conclude that if Heaven is a place that won’t let in the likes of Maggie Rowe, then why the hell would anyone even want to go there?
A powerful debut memoir that hits the unusual sweet spot of rigorous theology, candid sexuality, and laugh-out-loud humor. Who knew theological inquiry and obsessive questioning of one’s eternal fate could be so damn funny?
Maggie Rowe suffered for our sins so we don’t have to. There are many laugh out loud moments in Maggie’s deeply moving account of her spiritual wrestling match with a god she both feared and worshiped. A book with an original voice that should definitely be on your reading list.
Hilarious and heartbreaking. Hints of The Bell Jar in that Maggie Rowe makes a painful story feel vibrant and funny and alive. Immensely readable.
By turns harrowing and hilarious, Maggie Rowe takes us with her on a journey to the heart of faith and despair, love and madness.
A sharp, genuinely funny book about the dangers of literalism and fear of the afterlife. A must read for anyone on this side of eternity.
Maggie Rowe’s writing is a rare thing: brilliant, intelligent, hilarious, thoughtful, and, most importantly, utterly believable. Sin Bravely is a startling reminder of how \xE2\x80\x9Cfaith\xE2\x80\x9D and \xE2\x80\x9Cbelief\xE2\x80\x9D are often synonymous with pure terror of a fictional—and seemingly very mean—Guy, and of what He’ll do if you doubt Him for even a second. Her fear of Hell is a hell in itself, lived though the mind of a fiercely intelligent woman. Sin Bravely deserves to sell more copies and scare more people than the Bible; this is what I call a ‘good book.’