The mystery of truth

Living With a Wild God

Although Barbara Ehrenreich has written in the first person before—Nickel and Dimed, Bright-Sided—it's never been this personal. Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth About Everything (Grand Central Publishing, $26) is based on a journal she kept as a young teenager, when she had a series of “dissociative” episodes during which language seemed to slip away and she felt the barriers between her sense of self and the world around her disappear. It was, she says, “mystical,” which may strike longtime readers of the openly atheist writer oddly. This book is an attempt to make sense of a very real experience, and it's both humble and intellectually stimulating. While some may be tempted to see a middle ground emerging here between belief and nonbelief, what comes through most clearly is a demand for honesty without excuses when examining our own experiences.