“Breakfast with the Pope” hits all the right notes . It is funny, sad, inspiring and introspective. It beautifully accomplishes what it sets out to do without hitting the reader over the head with the religious aspects or overplaying the ultimate theme: the author’s sorrow and desperation at the death of her beloved brother-in-law.
The voice is just right: self-deprecating where it needs to be, funny or sarcastic when appropriate. The confidence behind the writing shines through. It is also well structured. The opening dramatic scene builds suspense and draws the reader in. It is not until near the end of the book the reader understands it is about John’s death, and that works well, too and makes perfect sense with the foundation that was built.
The humor is like much else in the book, executed perfectly. The passage, for instance, describing the Stanze shows expert knowledge of the art, but is laugh-out-loud funny. Any one of the situations in the book could be fodder for a memoir: the author and her husband’s struggle with infertility, the socialite becoming a nun, the visits to the Pope and the author’s friendship with Kasia. The way those themes were woven together to create the ultimate story is magical.
There was none of the pounding the reader over the head with pathos that is found in many books. The author’s faith is obvious, but she doesn’t proselytize or assume the reader feels the same. It is the underlying foundation of the book, yet any reader can understand it. It takes skill to handle it that way.
I am thrilled and so grateful that “Breakfast with the Pope” has touched readers the way it has. My heartfelt thanks to the judges at the Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards!