The House Where the Hardest Things Happened: A Memoir About Belonging
Authors: Caley, Kate Young
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Synopsis: Fusing an intimate memoir with an outspoken critique of organized religion's failure to welcome all into its community, The House Where the Hardest Things Happened is the moving story of one woman's search for a sense of belonging.
Growing up in a small town in New Hampshire, Kate Young Caley attends a strong community church where everyone is treated like family, members selflessly help one another, and all the kids are made to feel special. Then, suddenly, everything changes. Her father is hospitalized for many months and her mother is forced to take a job as a waitress to support the family. But the job requires Kate's mother to serve alcohol, which goes against the church's covenant, and the family, banned from attending services, soon finds itself emotionally ostracized from the community.
In The House Where the Hardest Things Happened, Caley recounts the hurt and confusion she felt as a young girl and her long search for a religious community that would comfort her spiritually, support her emotionally, and respect her intellectual ideals. As she chronicles her journey, she candidly discusses her problems with the way the Christian faith is expressed and with the people who lay claim to it. Her exploration of religious teachings on homosexuality is especially powerful as she explains why she is unwilling, and unable, to deny the love she has for her gay brother.
At once the story of a family profoundly transformed by tragedy and an incisive exploration of the meaning of spirituality, The House Where the Hardest Things Happened will appeal to readers of Joyce Carol Oates’s We Were the Mulvaneys and Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies. Beautifully written, it brings to life Caley's inspiring determination to reclaim her right to practice her beliefs–the most basic human right of all.