Monday, September 15, 2008

You gotta have faith
Tonight my book group meets to discuss Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. I haven't looked forward to a book discussion this much in ages. Why? Because Brideshead is a very important book for me. It is, in my opinion, the best book ever written about how depressing it is to be raised Catholic.

In all honesty, I think it must be the most depressing religion of them all. Its basic statement, the one told to us from when we were pups, is "Christ died for your sins." That's a serious burden to put on a small, impressionable child. I swear I grew up feeling like slime because our savior was crucified for the sole reason that I stole bubble gum from my brother. No kidding. Growing up Catholic one is washed in guilt from the first drop of Holy Water that falls onto our screaming bodies at baptism.

You fell guilty for everything. Bad thoughts. Growing breasts. Having a crush on The Monkees. Everything is sinful, everything is evil, everything is your fault. And Catholic parents know this and use it to their advantage. They don't use discipline, they use guilt. Whenever you did something bad you weren't punished so much as made to feel like shit because your parents were so disappointed in you. Disappointed is a Catholic mom's set expression. In the middle of a good fight with a sibling mom just walks by with that look .... the look...and suddently you're both silent because you feel so damned guilty for fighting and after all it was fights like that that killed Christ and I'm going to burn in hell for all eternity because I called him an idiot and I'll have to become a freakin' nun just to atone for all the evil my little 7-year old soul has done.

OK, back to the's beautifully written, full of great characters, and a great story. But for me, the bottom line is that the Marchmain family is just like mine....only richer, more British, and better looking.

1 comment:

jen said...

We read it for our book club too. I'd never read it before and, as a converted Jew who was raised with absolutely no religion, it was really compelling to read about Catholicism from Waugh's perspective. Did you see the movie? I hope not. I've never seen the Masterpiece Theater version but my friends assure me it was amazing. The movie took such liberties with story to make it more "modern" it was terrible. Don't bother.