Sunday, December 11, 2011



Aan excerpt from Peter Stockland's recent review of my Shirt of Flame: A Year with St. Thérèse of Lisieux (posted in both Cardus and The Catholic Register). 

"From the outset, King makes clear she has no intention of merely spending an experimental, carefully monitored year following the "Little Way" of the 19th-century French nun who died of tuberculosis at age 24. On the contrary, she means to plunge headlong, and life long, down the path to sainthood blazed by young Thérèse Martin.

A distinction is that King's commitment comes not in a chilly cloister surrounded by other religious as the 19th century gave way to the 20th, but in the heat and grit of Los Angeles' Koreatown neighbourhood during the first decade of the new millennium.

The writer herself could hardly seem more distinct from her inspiration. The bourgeois daughter of deeply Catholic parents, Thérèse begged from childhood to be allowed to live the consecrated life. She literally threw herself at the feet of Pope Leo XIII imploring him to waive age-restrictions on entry to the convent at Lisieux.

King, uh, not so much. As she acknowledges with characteristic honesty, she is a sober alcoholic who has suffered abortion, been divorced, gave up her calling as a lawyer to struggle as a writer, is often unsure how she will make it through the day and fully embraced Catholicism in middle age when the emptiness of almost everything else became overwhelmingly obvious."

Read the rest here.

I will say that in one way I know exactly how I am going to get through my day, which is with a fairly undeviating schedule of prayer, writing, reflecting, and walking, plus massive help from my loyal friends. 

Just for the record, I am anti-ditzy and -neurasthenic, I don't suffer fools (that of course includes myself) gladly, and I have an almost frantic distaste of wasting time (to be sharply distinguished from spending time Looking Out the Window, Gazing at Flowers, or Lying in Bed Reading)... 


  1. Terrific review. Well deserved.

    I get up, go to work and somehow I get through the day.

  2. Hey! I just realized -- I am neurasthenic! Never knew what that word meant. I googled it after reading your post. Umpteen years of college, medical school, 20+ years practice in a big hospital, you'd think I'd know. I thought I was just grumpy ...

    Now what do I do? I'm open to any advice.

    As long as it doesn't involve green vegetables.

  3. I just ordered two copies of SHIRT OF FLAME, one for myself and the other for my sister in Ireland. I've been sending her some of your posts. She and I can relate to many trials in your life, and we look forward to your enlightening words.

    Thanks for being one of the best "pipers in the square today."

  4. Thank you so much for writing Shirt of Flame. I'm almost to the end of it and sad about that, don't want it to end. I know I'll be reading it over and over. You breathe life and love into the story of St. Therese.


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