Interestingly, this Catholic author was repeatedly rejected by Christian publishers because there were curse words in the book, while secular publishers told her “Christians are jerks.” She was persistent, luckily for us and if you check the 33 five-star Amazon reviews it is also interesting that this book appeals to plenty of people outside the Catholic sphere.
Save Send Delete by Danusha Goska
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I became excited when Moyers identified you as a skeptic who questions everything. I actually put down my fork and stopped chewing my pasta fazool. I question everything, and I find that makes me very lonely. If you want to talk about Islam and terror, for example, you know that the Politically Correct, self-identitied “Patiots” won’t allow any critical statements about US petro-dependency. Abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage: people bring so many agendas to these matters that real, probing questions are never asked or answered. But you were as dogmatic in your atheism as a Monty Python parody of a pope.
One night after watching a celebrity atheist on a talk show, devout Catholic Mira does the unthinkable. She sends him a long, forceful, clever email that she knows will never get past his secretary. Except that he answers. And he won’t let her off the hook with a polite apology.
We see only Mira’s side of the correspondence, which soon pulls us into her life, their growing friendship, and doesn’t let anyone off the hook in considering faith, love, and what it means to be human. “Save Send Delete” refers to what Mira chooses to do after she’s written each email we’ve read. I was delighted by the way this clever device let us see not only Mira’s actual email but her inner thoughts as she hesitated or deleted what she’d written.
Monday 1:20 a.m.
Rand! Good grief, I see that you’ve written back already. I can’t read that right now.
I was drifting off to sleep and I remembered. In my first e-mail to you I called you a “git” and a “wanker.” And here I am chastising you for stereotyping me.
But that was so long ago Rand, and we are different people now, and we’re doing something different here, aren’t we? And it hurts when you refuse to see me.SAVE send delete
Monday 1:34 a.m.save SEND delete
I cannot possibly do this book justice. But, of course, you know that’s not going to stop me from trying.
The book is a thinly fictionalized version of what really happened to author Danusha Goska. However, don’t let that give you pause. It is a finely crafted work of literature, no matter the origin of the ideas conveyed.
It is going on my 2013 Best Books list.
I was really excited reading the first half of the book because I related to the conversations. I’ve been blogging long enough to have had many long email exchanges about faith or lack thereof. I was cheering in Mira’s section as she said all the things that intelligent Christians know and sometimes would like to hurl at unthinking atheists smugly giving knee-jerk answers. (And know this now, there are as many unthinking, knee-jerk atheists out there as there are unthinking, knee-jerk Christians. No group is exempt from this.)
Mira makes her points respectfully, with credit given where it is due, but she doesn’t back down. She is adamant about truth being shown and acknowledged by all sides. And, of course, that’s another thing I loved about this book. Truth, honesty … those are hard qualities to come by.
Watching Mira struggle to keep conversations honest was fascinating and taught me some valuable lessons. I want to stress here, that this book is not just for Christians. Both Goodreads and Amazon contain 5-star reviews from all sorts of believers and doubters. All praise Danusha Goska’s writing and thinking in this book.
The second part of the book changes in tone as Mira and Rand grow closer and more honest with each other. It becomes less about intellectual answers and more about real life, about finding God or meaning in life when times are hard. This was when the spotlight turned on me and it wasn’t comfortable.
It is not that I pulled back or wasn’t engaged with the book. It was as if I were reading that other very different yet also great book, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, which this section of the book made me think of for some reason. Mira’s life has been hard and it made me realize how very fortunate my own life is. I always know my life is fortunate, but there is a tendency to think one’s life is more difficult than it actually is. When one comes up against real hardship, it holds up the mirror, shakes us up (just as the prophets were sent to shake the people up), and gives the corrected perspective so that one may continue. This tendency is actually discussed very compassionately by Mira in a section about house-sitting for a professor.
I couldn’t put the book down, as Mira and Rand’s story propelled me forward.I spent a good deal of time pondering my actions versus mere lip service (none of us are exempt from our unthinking, knee-jerk moments, remember?). And that’s a good thing.
Ultimately, the core message of Save Send Delete is one we all understand. We want to be seen, to be heard, to be known for who we really are, deep down. It is that which we hope and strive for from friends, family, loved ones. The lack of being known devastates us when we have trusted someone deeply enough to allow ourselves to become vulnerable. That is the ultimate betrayal.
What Christians find in God, in Jesus Christ, is that he knows us, in a way we don’t even know ourselves. And when He breaks through so that we can recognize it, we are stunned and overwhelmed.
That is why words are so inadequate.
Danusha Goska’s words … her original, insightful story … is up to the task.
Do not miss this book.
NOTE: There is some bad language. Just skim over it if that’s a problem.