Book Review: Breakfast with the Pope

If you are tired of sugar coated Catholic prose, and want a more raw account of a person who tries to lead a Catholic life, drop what you are doing and buy Breakfast with the Pope.  Click the link and insta-order.  Seriously. 

Susan Vigilante chronicles her struggle with infertility, her quest to become a writer, and the joys and sorrows of friendship and family life.  A young brother-in-law struggles with cancer as she prays for his healing.   A bosom friend leaves to become a nun.  She visits Italy and meets John Paul II through Polish friends.  And, she gets to know recipients of Padre Pio’s many miracles. 

This brave memoir is easy-to-read, well written, and covers many topics that will fascinate Catholics.  It has laugh out loud moments. But, more importantly, the story urges readers to be more compassionate, open, and real with themselves and others.  It challenges us to acknowledge what we really think when things get awkward or go completely off-course. 

In Breakfast with the Pope, Susan introduces us to her unexpected candor and uncommon honesty. Rather than artfully sidestepping her crosses or disappointments, she walks through the burning coals.  Instead of taking a detour away from the Church and following an easier route, she stays the course and takes us over the bumps in the road with her.

She has also known profound privilege and good fortune.  How many of us will ever have breakfast with a pope?  It’s a story you have to read.

While I think everyone needs this book, it’s not your typical Catholic bookstore item. Even though Susan stands by her faith when many others would throw in the towel, it wouldn’t get through most Catholic publishing houses.  Lines would have been struck in the editorial rituals, conformity checks, and hyper-piety filters.  It’s not sandpapered down.  Thank God it got published as is though. We need bold story telling to convey big life lessons in all of their natural texture and glory.  

The book itself is beautiful.  The cover design, the high quality paper, the uneven finish of the pages.  I read it within three days and it is a keeper, because I will certainly read it again.

Amy Bonaccorso is a life coach, dating expert, and the award-winning author of  How to Get to ‘I Do’ – A Dating Guide for Catholic Women. Her work is regularly featured on radio, television, print and online media outlets. Before becoming a full-time coach and writer, she led a successful decade-long career as a communications professional in the federal government. Visit her at www.amybonaccorso.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.