“Given Up for You: A Memoir of Love, Belonging, and Belief” by Erin O. White— Yearnings

White, Erin O. “Given Up for You: A Memoir of Love, Belonging, and Belief”, University of Wisconsin Press, 2018.


Amos Lassen

Erin O. White in her candid memoir this candid and revelatory memoir tells us of her desire for both romantic and divine love, and how this transformed her life. In the late 1990s, she spent Saturday nights with her girlfriend and on Sunday mornings she went to Catholic confirmation classes. Then when the Church closed its doors to her, she faced a serious question— What does a lesbian believer do with her longing for God? She shares her feelings with conviction, as she explores heart and soul. Her memoir is candid and intimate and puts forth

 complex questions about the world and how we fit into it. White’s struggle to reconcile desire and belief reminding us, yet again, the loss we encounter when the church refuses our entry. Her story is the story of denied faith. What really hits us hard is the onus that comes with such carnal and spiritual denial.

She believes that “there may be no act more subversive than surrender, no prayer more devout than desire itself.” As she deals with the competing and rivalries of same-sex denial and Roman Catholicism, she shares very personal thoughts. She attempted to juggle these two desires and as we read we often find ourselves feeling exactly the same yet White decided to put his down on paper. White’s prose here is beautiful and heartbreaking in its honesty.

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