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The Dark Path: A Memoir

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A young man struggles to reconcile God, faith, and sex as he stumbles toward finding his life in this frank and beautifully written memoir. Since childhood, David Schickler has been torn between his intense desire to become a Catholic priest and his equally fervent desire for the company of women. Growing up in a family of staunch Catholics in upstate New York, Schickler s A young man struggles to reconcile God, faith, and sex as he stumbles toward finding his life in this frank and beautifully written memoir. Since childhood, David Schickler has been torn between his intense desire to become a Catholic priest and his equally fervent desire for the company of women. Growing up in a family of staunch Catholics in upstate New York, Schickler senses God along what he calls "�the dark path”—a shadowy trail that winds through the woods behind his childhood home. On this path he begins his ongoing, frustratingly one-sided talks with God. Things don’t get any clearer for Schickler at college, where he initiates serious conversations about becoming a Jesuit just as he enters a passionate relationship with a vivacious, agnostic young woman. He tries various obsessions—karate, beer, writing fiction—attempting to duck the mystical God he feels called to serve as a priest. His pursuits of these passions, and of the young woman, take him from Germany to New York City and eventually to New England, where he has a life-changing reckoning about whether he will end up wearing the clerical collar or getting the girl. Candid and funny, lyrical and blunt, The Dark Path is an evocative portrayal of one man’s struggle with faith and women . . . both of which he tries to love with bold, bracing honesty.


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A young man struggles to reconcile God, faith, and sex as he stumbles toward finding his life in this frank and beautifully written memoir. Since childhood, David Schickler has been torn between his intense desire to become a Catholic priest and his equally fervent desire for the company of women. Growing up in a family of staunch Catholics in upstate New York, Schickler s A young man struggles to reconcile God, faith, and sex as he stumbles toward finding his life in this frank and beautifully written memoir. Since childhood, David Schickler has been torn between his intense desire to become a Catholic priest and his equally fervent desire for the company of women. Growing up in a family of staunch Catholics in upstate New York, Schickler senses God along what he calls "�the dark path”—a shadowy trail that winds through the woods behind his childhood home. On this path he begins his ongoing, frustratingly one-sided talks with God. Things don’t get any clearer for Schickler at college, where he initiates serious conversations about becoming a Jesuit just as he enters a passionate relationship with a vivacious, agnostic young woman. He tries various obsessions—karate, beer, writing fiction—attempting to duck the mystical God he feels called to serve as a priest. His pursuits of these passions, and of the young woman, take him from Germany to New York City and eventually to New England, where he has a life-changing reckoning about whether he will end up wearing the clerical collar or getting the girl. Candid and funny, lyrical and blunt, The Dark Path is an evocative portrayal of one man’s struggle with faith and women . . . both of which he tries to love with bold, bracing honesty.

30 review for The Dark Path: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    If I was Catholic, I would want to be a Jesuit; they seem to be the most pretentious of all the Catholic congregations. Not that I would want to be a priest as I’m married but for David Schickler the desire to be a priest was a driving force in his life. The Dark Path is a memoir of Schickler’s struggle between a call to priesthood and his attraction to women. A memoir that explores his faith, sex and the internal conflict, The Dark Path is a funny and boldly honest look at his struggle. I grew u If I was Catholic, I would want to be a Jesuit; they seem to be the most pretentious of all the Catholic congregations. Not that I would want to be a priest as I’m married but for David Schickler the desire to be a priest was a driving force in his life. The Dark Path is a memoir of Schickler’s struggle between a call to priesthood and his attraction to women. A memoir that explores his faith, sex and the internal conflict, The Dark Path is a funny and boldly honest look at his struggle. I grew up in a strict religious home, though not Catholic, but I really connected with The Dark Path. Growing up, my parents were ministers and I often felt the pressure to join the ministry. Though it isn’t as daunting as becoming a priest, it made this book relatable. I’m often drawn to books with an internal struggle and when I first heard about this book, I knew it was something I had to read. The whole idea of choosing a life in service to God or giving into your sexual urges is an interesting topic and Schickler tackled it in a way that remained respectful to both choices. While this is a book about religion and Catholicism in general, I think of this book as a struggle to decide what path to take. In our high school and college years we all face choices that will affect the rest of our lives and The Dark Path is essentially about those decisions. As I’ve had a strong religious upbringing there was just so much in the book that I could relate to and enjoy, this does make my review very biased but I can’t help it. I also married a Catholic so I had the opportunity to learn more about Catholicism while also having someone to answer all my questions I had in the book. David Schickler has written one novel which is mentioned in this memoir called Kissing in Manhattan and also co-created the TV show Banshee, which I haven’t had an opportunity to watch. I have to wonder if both the novel and show portray a similar element of struggle in the characters as well as maybe a hint of religious politics because I think he captured this really well in this book. I get a sense that his writing style is dark, gritty and transgressive. You can see hints of this in his writing but he still managed to make this memoir hilarious and heart-warming. There is so much I want to say about this book but I don’t want to give too much of the book away. The Dark Path is the first book to receive a 5 star rating for 2014 and I hope to find many people to talk to about this memoir. If you have a religious background and want to read about a struggle of faith then I highly recommend The Dark Path. I plan to go read Kissing in Manhattan soon and maybe even try and get a hold of Banshee. This review originally appeared on my blog; http://www.knowledgelost.org/book-rev...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Every good Catholic boy thinks about the priesthood at some point. Normally before he meets girls. So a book selling itself (on the advance edition anyway) as an epic internal struggle between these two paths sounds really interesting. The Dark Path is not that book. David Schickler talks about his spiritual struggles as he moves through university and his early career. He gets as far as the eve of formally applying to the Jesuit novitiate, but at no point did it really seem likely he would go do Every good Catholic boy thinks about the priesthood at some point. Normally before he meets girls. So a book selling itself (on the advance edition anyway) as an epic internal struggle between these two paths sounds really interesting. The Dark Path is not that book. David Schickler talks about his spiritual struggles as he moves through university and his early career. He gets as far as the eve of formally applying to the Jesuit novitiate, but at no point did it really seem likely he would go down this path (let's be clear, I'm commenting on his narrative of events as presented, not Schickler himself). Thus, no narrative tension. I'm disappointed to rate this two stars. The book itself reads quite well with simple, tough prose. And Schickler calls out the the happy-fluffy Catholics whose facade too often turns people off religion and which hides the gritty personal struggles of believers. The problem is really in the presentation of the book. It's a coming of age memoir with a rare but deeply held religious element. It's not a tortured choice between two life paths. Follow me on Twitter:@Dr_A_Taubman

  3. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Good book. It was a timely read for me. I really do not like to give stars, but I will. I would like to give this 4.5, but I cannot. Thanks David Schickler.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This is essentially a coming-of-age story, about a young man figuring out who he is, who he wants to be, and how to reconcile the complexities and ambiguities of life instead of rage against them and take them personally. The writing style is good; this tale may or may not resonate with where you are in life, but this familiar issue is well-presented.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Literary Vixens

    Reviewed by: Melissa “When I swallow the wafer, I wait for God to bloom to life in my stomach, to give me muscles or wisdom. God doesn’t seem to do this, but I’m hoping that one day He will.” David Schickler’s memoir, The Dark Path, candidly outlines his very personal inner struggle between his love of God and his lust for women with comical, poignant and sometimes uncomfortably bracing honesty. With sharp wit, keen insight and poetic detachment, Schickler retells his most revealing life experienc Reviewed by: Melissa “When I swallow the wafer, I wait for God to bloom to life in my stomach, to give me muscles or wisdom. God doesn’t seem to do this, but I’m hoping that one day He will.” David Schickler’s memoir, The Dark Path, candidly outlines his very personal inner struggle between his love of God and his lust for women with comical, poignant and sometimes uncomfortably bracing honesty. With sharp wit, keen insight and poetic detachment, Schickler retells his most revealing life experiences as only a man who has walked the walk can. His light tone seems to effortlessly capture the essence of an introspective gentleman who, while obviously talented and intelligent, is just a regular guy who doesn’t appear to take himself too seriously in spite of the very serious nature of his spiritual dilemma. Schickler is a master storyteller who weaves his dark, stumbling path to enlightenment with suspense, light-hearted grace and humility. Schickler unapologetically chronicles the most personal and moving experiences of his life in vivid detail. I found myself cringing, teary-eyed, but also laughing at his matter-of-fact reenactments of pivotal life lessons which have brought him to where he is today. He keeps you riveted to your seat as he escorts you through his awkward young adulthood when his true doubts about himself and his Maker unfold and the seeds of his rebellion against God’s calling are planted, to his eventual realization that he is man with wants, needs and desires he cannot deny. He lets it all hang out - from his first sexual encounters to his crazy days of beer, booze and Karate kicking, I can’t imagine Schickler has any skeletons left in his closet. I absolutely loved this memoir and confess that David Schickler warmed my soul with his humble openness; his charming narration is clever and seductively engaging. As a mother of two young boys I was touched by his youthful innocence and later his jaded rebellion; and through his highs, lows and every misstep along the way I couldn’t help but cheer him on. A central theme in the book, do what makes you happy rather than what you feel is expected, resonated with me as a mother, a wife and a Catholic, but it appeals to all people struggling to find their place in the world. This uplifting story left me feeling it’s OK to be who I am, whoever that may be, as long as I do it with grace and authenticity. Bravo David, I can’t wait for your encore.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jayrchase

    David Schickler, author and co-creator of the ever-so-dark Banshee series, writes a very readable memoir describing his efforts to determine his path (priesthood vs. teacher/author). He retells stories from his youth and blend them well providing a picture of how his experience mold him into his college years. His college years were pretty epic... I'm kinda jealous - but again, Schickler very deftly shows how his actions/decisions molded what comes next. He continues in this vein throughout the David Schickler, author and co-creator of the ever-so-dark Banshee series, writes a very readable memoir describing his efforts to determine his path (priesthood vs. teacher/author). He retells stories from his youth and blend them well providing a picture of how his experience mold him into his college years. His college years were pretty epic... I'm kinda jealous - but again, Schickler very deftly shows how his actions/decisions molded what comes next. He continues in this vein throughout the book leaving the reader with an understanding of his path and the costs/payoffs for everything he has done. The description of the other characters in the book are ever so believable and full. I found his descriptions and ideas regarding God and mental illness were pretty unique and extremely thought provoking. For those of you who do decide to read this, there is a passage when David is about 25, comes home for a visit and his sister sets him up with a girlfriend who was very meek in high school. The next morning, David is sitting at the breakfast table and has a conversation with his sister and mother about the previous evening. I laughed so hard that everyone in the house came running into the study to find out what had happened (I don't often laugh until I cry, sitting in a room by myself). I thought it was one of the funniest things I have read in years. If you did not think it was that funny, let me know... please!! (I am thinking it was so funny to me because it was so absolutely real - I can see how my family would have reacted in the same situation :)) If you are dogmatic or don't like rough language or light blasphemy, this book might not be for you. Otherwise, I highly recommend this peek into such a creative mind and how Mr. Schickler got to be where he is... This is a guy I would sit down and drink a beer with any day!! FYI, I reviewed an ARC. All the best, Jay

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lorry Chwazik

    While I have no doubt after reading this memoir that Schickler felt (and suffered) mightily about his struggle between the priesthood and women (and really, that is the limited choice that he mentions throughout the book), I felt that his writing about it was overwrought, immature, and mind-numbingly dull. (Hey, look, Ma! I'm writing!)Personally, I was put off both by his treatment of women in real life and in the summation of his novels as recorded in this book, and his seeming lack of the perc While I have no doubt after reading this memoir that Schickler felt (and suffered) mightily about his struggle between the priesthood and women (and really, that is the limited choice that he mentions throughout the book), I felt that his writing about it was overwrought, immature, and mind-numbingly dull. (Hey, look, Ma! I'm writing!)Personally, I was put off both by his treatment of women in real life and in the summation of his novels as recorded in this book, and his seeming lack of the perception that he alone is responsible for his belief system - not God, or "Lack of God" (as he still refers to God after his disenchantment with the priesthood but to whom he still annoyingly prays to frequently), or the sexual advance he, as a college student, unwelcomingly receives from a campus Jesuit. Dealing with religion, and the faith espoused by any religion, are two very different entities that many of us grapple with throughout our lives; what was missing here was any depth or mature explication of the process.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John Wood

    In reading the book you soon find that "The Dark Path", although ominous sounding, is not at all what you may imagine. This book reads like fiction and I had to keep reminding myself that it isn't. I can definitely empathise with the Catholic, anxiety and depression issues. It is a quick, fun read and the author makes normal everyday happenings seem interesting, making the reader want to discover what comes next. It did get a bit old that he imagined every girl as his wife. His basic struggle, a In reading the book you soon find that "The Dark Path", although ominous sounding, is not at all what you may imagine. This book reads like fiction and I had to keep reminding myself that it isn't. I can definitely empathise with the Catholic, anxiety and depression issues. It is a quick, fun read and the author makes normal everyday happenings seem interesting, making the reader want to discover what comes next. It did get a bit old that he imagined every girl as his wife. His basic struggle, as with most Catholic boys, is choosing between the priesthood and the women. I don't think you necessarily need to be raised as a Catholic to enjoy the book but it added to my experience. Since the author usually writes fiction, and he made his real life sound so interesting, I may be compelled to read his other books! Just think what interesting stuff he could make up! I received my copy of the book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    The Dark Path a Memoir by David Schickler First of all, this has been on of the best books I've read in a very long time. I grabbed it from the New Book section of the library. I did judge this book by it's cover. I was not disappointed and stayed up nights reading page after page. Starting from David Schickler's childhood, he was raised in a devoted Catholic family. He was comforted by a darkened space in the trees behind his home. He felt the Spirit of God. It influenced his life. David always wanted The Dark Path a Memoir by David Schickler First of all, this has been on of the best books I've read in a very long time. I grabbed it from the New Book section of the library. I did judge this book by it's cover. I was not disappointed and stayed up nights reading page after page. Starting from David Schickler's childhood, he was raised in a devoted Catholic family. He was comforted by a darkened space in the trees behind his home. He felt the Spirit of God. It influenced his life. David always wanted to become a Catholic priest. As he became a college student, he struggled to be true to his faith. His desire for young women was often stronger and he strayed from the teaching of the Church causing mental stress. The stress lead to a point that he was barely able to function in daily life. In all this misery and indecision, you will find laugh out loud passages and uplifting of spirit. Believe me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    eb

    Over and over again, Schickler describes his youthful disdain for the "bubbly-safe" version of religion practiced by the adults around him--"all chipper and scrubbed too clean." He professes to prefer the dark path--a God who's unknowable and fearsome. What's so weird is that this entire memoir is bubbly-safe. In its language and its thoughts, it's juvenile, it's cutesy. It presents a series of un-funny, unsophisticated prayers ("Seriously, are You off talking to dying kids in distant lands, and Over and over again, Schickler describes his youthful disdain for the "bubbly-safe" version of religion practiced by the adults around him--"all chipper and scrubbed too clean." He professes to prefer the dark path--a God who's unknowable and fearsome. What's so weird is that this entire memoir is bubbly-safe. In its language and its thoughts, it's juvenile, it's cutesy. It presents a series of un-funny, unsophisticated prayers ("Seriously, are You off talking to dying kids in distant lands, and that's why I'm not hearing from You now?") in place of hard thinking about Catholicism. Also, it's not actually a memoir about faith; it's a memoir with some boring ruminations on faith thrown in.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tejas Janet

    I was impressed with author David Schickler's ability to write about such an intensely personal subject, managing to be both forthright and insightful at once. It deals with his struggle to hear God's voice and so know his true life path, and culminates in an identity crisis when he finally recognizes that he will never become a priest as he had long-thought since childhood. The inner self-talk running throughout the course of the narrative captures his conflicted state remarkably well. I found I was impressed with author David Schickler's ability to write about such an intensely personal subject, managing to be both forthright and insightful at once. It deals with his struggle to hear God's voice and so know his true life path, and culminates in an identity crisis when he finally recognizes that he will never become a priest as he had long-thought since childhood. The inner self-talk running throughout the course of the narrative captures his conflicted state remarkably well. I found it an easy story to relate to, and written in a way that kept up my interest to the end. I'd rate it somewhere between 4 and 5 stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This book was pretty dark, an aspect in books I usually try to avoid. However, the Catholic themes kept drawing me in. (religion nerds unite!) I was excited to read about the discernment process for the main character between marriage and the priesthood. While these themes were present, I soon felt I was simply reading a memoir of clinical depression instead.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    You will be laughing from the first page. You will want to be one of the girl's that David imagines could be his wife. You will not be sorry you picked up this book. A great memoir that takes us on the journey of an internal battle between desires to be a priest and to love women- is it one or the other? You will be laughing from the first page. You will want to be one of the girl's that David imagines could be his wife. You will not be sorry you picked up this book. A great memoir that takes us on the journey of an internal battle between desires to be a priest and to love women- is it one or the other?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Lamb

    Read it in a day, and rated it 5 stars. And texted two friends excerpts while I was reading. That should be enough to figure out what I thought about it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Hallock

    In so many ways, this author's life mirrored mine in superficial ways: • We went to the same program of the same university and lived in the same freshman dorm (three years apart). • We both taught (and I still teach) at boarding schools in New England. • We both had similar back/hip/leg problems. • We both write sexy stories. These overlaps could have made me a tougher critic—I would know if something seemed off—but I devoured this memoir. It was raw, clever, and funny. I have not read anything else In so many ways, this author's life mirrored mine in superficial ways: • We went to the same program of the same university and lived in the same freshman dorm (three years apart). • We both taught (and I still teach) at boarding schools in New England. • We both had similar back/hip/leg problems. • We both write sexy stories. These overlaps could have made me a tougher critic—I would know if something seemed off—but I devoured this memoir. It was raw, clever, and funny. I have not read anything else by this author, nor seen any of his television programs yet, but I feel that this work stands on its own. (view spoiler)[The only thing I wish is that we saw more of his wife at the end because the development given to a past girlfriend almost makes it seem like she was the true love. (hide spoiler)]

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I read David Schickler's Kissing in Manhattan a long time ago, and I remember there being a priest, who was a sympathetic character, in the book. I didn't realize until fairly recently, though, that Schickler had written this memoir about his struggles with faith and vocation and how he once contemplated becoming a Jesuit. I like his writing style a lot, and it's a rarity among religion-centered memoirs in that it genuinely is more about his journey than his endpoint. I read David Schickler's Kissing in Manhattan a long time ago, and I remember there being a priest, who was a sympathetic character, in the book. I didn't realize until fairly recently, though, that Schickler had written this memoir about his struggles with faith and vocation and how he once contemplated becoming a Jesuit. I like his writing style a lot, and it's a rarity among religion-centered memoirs in that it genuinely is more about his journey than his endpoint.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Clint

    Hard-to-put-down memoir of a writer who felt as a young man he was being called to be a Catholic priest. His love of women and his doubts get in the way, though, and those and some physical ailments offer him a dark time as he attempts to come to grips with it all. Unlike with many memoirs, the writing feels real and not forced. I felt his pain as he struggled with many life dilemmas and wondered how, or if, he’d come out the other side.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Liam Green

    I dislike many memoirs. This is not most memoirs. It is sui géneris and it is a goddamned masterpiece. It may not mean quite as much to those of us who haven't struggled with Catholicism or with faith in general, but honestly anyone who's ever been mystified and stymied by love, life and family will find something here. I dislike many memoirs. This is not most memoirs. It is sui géneris and it is a goddamned masterpiece. It may not mean quite as much to those of us who haven't struggled with Catholicism or with faith in general, but honestly anyone who's ever been mystified and stymied by love, life and family will find something here.

  19. 5 out of 5

    marcia

    as memoirs go this stared out enticing and intriguing but it droned on 3/4 of the way through. I was hooked to find out how he decided and if he found some happiness, thus I finished the book

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    It was fine.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    Unlikable in almost every way.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Lord

    Shick, a young, sincere Catholic boy especially concerned with hearing God, is likable from the start. He describes communion as waiting “…for God to bloom to life in my stomach, to give me muscles or wisdom. God doesn’t seem to do this, but I’m hoping that one day He will.” Vulnerable and innocent, the boy finds comfort in the titular dark path near his home where he gazes into trusted, wooded shadows that he feels “were put on earth so that I wouldn‘t miss out on something special.” As he grow Shick, a young, sincere Catholic boy especially concerned with hearing God, is likable from the start. He describes communion as waiting “…for God to bloom to life in my stomach, to give me muscles or wisdom. God doesn’t seem to do this, but I’m hoping that one day He will.” Vulnerable and innocent, the boy finds comfort in the titular dark path near his home where he gazes into trusted, wooded shadows that he feels “were put on earth so that I wouldn‘t miss out on something special.” As he grows out of charming, fantasy marriages to his secret boyhood crushes and into actually sleeping with women, Shick worries about his purity and still yearns to hear God’s voice. His tame college experiences include late-night masses and finding “a new quiet, a new stillness”; he ponders taking Jesuit orders, terming his yen the “priesthood ache.” After school Shick grows even more timid, worried, and confused while also shot though with unabated, impatient fervor; “I want to hear God’s voice irrationally, totally, the way I want sex.” This eventually turns depressive, and he struggles with his dual roles of teacher and author (Kissing in Manhattan, 2002). The memoir ends on a dizzyingly happy note, however. VERDICT The author’s questing honesty and his bravery in relating it create a powerful intimacy with readers. Though this autobiography is penned from a (very) Catholic perspective, any spiritual reader can remove the term “God,” replace it with their word of choice, and still enjoy this wonderful search of self. With wisdom like, “…your life is a competition between you and the strongest version of yourself,” Shick’s journey will doubtless inspire others. Find this review and others at Books for Dudes, the online reader's advisory column for men from Library Journal: see http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/cat.... Copyright Library Journal.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I recently got back into reading and decided to read this book for the simple fact that it was on my bookshelf. How it originally got there, I have no idea. The Dark Path is a memoir about a boy who was raised in the Catholic faith and who always wanted to devote his life to the religion and to become a priest. But as he grows up and goes to college, he also realizes that there is a part of him that really loves women and that can't imagine the celibacy required of priests. For me, the memoir was I recently got back into reading and decided to read this book for the simple fact that it was on my bookshelf. How it originally got there, I have no idea. The Dark Path is a memoir about a boy who was raised in the Catholic faith and who always wanted to devote his life to the religion and to become a priest. But as he grows up and goes to college, he also realizes that there is a part of him that really loves women and that can't imagine the celibacy required of priests. For me, the memoir was nothing really groundbreaking or amazing, and as a non-religious person, the inner conflicts and crises of faith were at times hard for me to really identify with. But, the author's writing style was enjoyable, and there were also quite a few humorous moments.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Seifert

    The downside of this memoir is that Schickler leans too heavily upon summary. I wish he would have let us dwell in the discomfort and pain of his scenes, made it so that we couldn't help but sympathize and suffer with him. Sadly, he summarizes too much and the scenes we do get often feel glossed over--which is a shame because the writing is pretty good and there are numerous lines where Schickler digs knives into the hearts of his scenes. It made me want to grab him by the shoulders and shake hi The downside of this memoir is that Schickler leans too heavily upon summary. I wish he would have let us dwell in the discomfort and pain of his scenes, made it so that we couldn't help but sympathize and suffer with him. Sadly, he summarizes too much and the scenes we do get often feel glossed over--which is a shame because the writing is pretty good and there are numerous lines where Schickler digs knives into the hearts of his scenes. It made me want to grab him by the shoulders and shake him and ask "Why are you in such a hurry?!" That said, I did find his torturous journey to be mostly interesting. I enjoyed the unpredictable and unique details he uses to move the memoir along (his students at the high school, his Mormon roommate and his friends, etc.). And, as I said, there are a number of times when he captures the pain and tension of a scene in a concise, poetic, yet totally believable, line. I think Schickler's religious devotion and anxiety issues robbed him of enjoying much of what seems to have been a fairly good life. He was so conflicted for so long, and it was painful to see him sabotage both of his ultimate goals--as contradictory as he may have believed they were. I can relate to that in some ways, and this book is a good illustration of learning how to take a deep breath and accept the joy that comes your way, whether it be from God or loved ones because the two are not mutually exclusive. I don't think this means he should have given up on God from the start, but he allowed his anxiety (and accompanying lack of confidence) to discolor his faith into something hideous and destructive. This could be considered a cautionary tale against putting too much "trust in the Lord" and not enough in yourself.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Desiree Griffin

    I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about reading this book. I have no real interest when it comes to religion. But I took a swing at it and was instantly hooked. This book was hilarious and addicting. It was hard not to put it down because I wanted so badly to find out what was going to happen next. This book was definitely not a disappointment. I loved the story-line and how it felt like I was connecting with the author and the situations he was dealing with. I could really see the situ I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about reading this book. I have no real interest when it comes to religion. But I took a swing at it and was instantly hooked. This book was hilarious and addicting. It was hard not to put it down because I wanted so badly to find out what was going to happen next. This book was definitely not a disappointment. I loved the story-line and how it felt like I was connecting with the author and the situations he was dealing with. I could really see the situations in my mind. Many of the situations the author describes himself in are hilarious and it felt great to be able to understand in detail what the author was seeing and feeling. I found myself laughing out loud many times throughout this story. Yes, religion was spoken of for the entire book, but I didn't feel preached at and the subject never got boring. The language in this "religious" based book may offend or confuse most, but I felt that the author was being honest and true when he would express himself exactly like he did during his many encounters. This is definitely a great read for anyone who loves a little bit of religion mixed with a whole lot of laugh-out-loud moments.

  26. 5 out of 5

    John Allen

    I really have a hard time understanding why other reviewers have taken issue with the perceived "straightforwardness" of this memoir, one of the best I've read in a few years. It is not excessively emotional, Shickler's is not nearly as "self absorbed" as 99 percent of writers who take the dip into "me me/excessive emotionalism" of memoir writing, and has a gorgeous simplicity to it that I admire. Shickler was born in my area, or near my area, of course--a nice section of Upstate NY, if a bit smal I really have a hard time understanding why other reviewers have taken issue with the perceived "straightforwardness" of this memoir, one of the best I've read in a few years. It is not excessively emotional, Shickler's is not nearly as "self absorbed" as 99 percent of writers who take the dip into "me me/excessive emotionalism" of memoir writing, and has a gorgeous simplicity to it that I admire. Shickler was born in my area, or near my area, of course--a nice section of Upstate NY, if a bit small (the story of our lives here, really.) He fell in love with a woman pretty early on, and had the small dilemma of wanting to be a Catholic priest and intending to become one. Problem: celibacy and all those centuries old requirements for ordination. His entire story, which gets pretty chaotic and wild sometimes, highlights from one individual's experience a fact we must face as Catholics: straight men, that is, men with instincts towards women that nature gave them, have as much right to be challenged as gay guys by the strict policy set down by some wise men, given. We are here as well, and we also struggle. Best memoir I've read this decade. Comment | Permalink

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Tretin

    The Dark Path opens the readers eyes to how a conflict that percolates through adolescence and early adulthood can have devastating consequences for the individual. The author came from a stable loving family that would seem to have given him the ingredients for a successful transition from child to adult. Yet, the dichotomy between his desire to be a priest and his desire to have a loving relationship with a with a wife and children strained his ability to maintain his mental stability. The int The Dark Path opens the readers eyes to how a conflict that percolates through adolescence and early adulthood can have devastating consequences for the individual. The author came from a stable loving family that would seem to have given him the ingredients for a successful transition from child to adult. Yet, the dichotomy between his desire to be a priest and his desire to have a loving relationship with a with a wife and children strained his ability to maintain his mental stability. The intensity and honesty of the writing makes this a true page turner and you find yourself praying that he will find his way and work through this conflict. The fact that as readers we know the outcome from the beginning in no way diminishes the emotional pull of this book. Bravo to David Schickler for opening our eyes to how difficult "coming of age" can really be!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    For the first 10 pages or so, this memoir was of a 10 year old boy, and it was written in a kind of Junie B. Jones way, precocious. Then the sex began. This turned into the memoir of a foul mouthed horndog who hears voices in his head compelling him to be a priest and, when that doesn't turn out (sex again), those voices become quite disturbed. Schickler has some very funny lines and a number of good stories, but spends a lot of ink writing what is in his head, and that is a bit repetitive. Some For the first 10 pages or so, this memoir was of a 10 year old boy, and it was written in a kind of Junie B. Jones way, precocious. Then the sex began. This turned into the memoir of a foul mouthed horndog who hears voices in his head compelling him to be a priest and, when that doesn't turn out (sex again), those voices become quite disturbed. Schickler has some very funny lines and a number of good stories, but spends a lot of ink writing what is in his head, and that is a bit repetitive. Some of the people, such as various girlfriends and a groping priest, are not described in the most flattering way, and must be pretty recognizable to his friends. Word to his friends, stay on his good side! Good for a quick read. I won this book from the publisher in a contest.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alej

    I am always interested and intrigued by people's journey to (or from) religious faith and spirituality. As I struggle with my own personal understanding of God, faith, etc I hope that others that write eloquently and honestly about their path will help me understand mine. David Schickler has done exactly what I hope to get from a memoir such as this. Did it help me? Yes, in that David always thought that God could only speak privately and personally directly to him and not through someone else! I am always interested and intrigued by people's journey to (or from) religious faith and spirituality. As I struggle with my own personal understanding of God, faith, etc I hope that others that write eloquently and honestly about their path will help me understand mine. David Schickler has done exactly what I hope to get from a memoir such as this. Did it help me? Yes, in that David always thought that God could only speak privately and personally directly to him and not through someone else! It is a humbling thought to remember that others can have an equally profound relationship with faith/God and that it may lead directly to or impact you.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bill Glose

    To have sex or become a priest—this is the dilemma at the heart of David Schickler’s memoir. As a child, he spoke to God in dark places—in shadowed corners of church, in his basement bedroom at night, but mostly on a wooded path, which he visits daily in hopes that God will speak back and give his life direction. His “priesthood ache” is stymied when he goes to college and falls for a passionate, agnostic woman. This memoir is a cup of meditative punch spiked with the boozy thrill of wild and gr To have sex or become a priest—this is the dilemma at the heart of David Schickler’s memoir. As a child, he spoke to God in dark places—in shadowed corners of church, in his basement bedroom at night, but mostly on a wooded path, which he visits daily in hopes that God will speak back and give his life direction. His “priesthood ache” is stymied when he goes to college and falls for a passionate, agnostic woman. This memoir is a cup of meditative punch spiked with the boozy thrill of wild and graphic sex.

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