A Change of Habit Patty Kogutek, author www.pattykogutek.com
Book Reviewer: Patricia L. Brooks www.plbrooks.com
Author Patty Kogutek is torn between her life in marriage to God, and being away from her family. She’s lonely and often questions her decision. At times the story is funny, other times it skates close to stereotypical, but it is never dry or boring. Even while allowed to teach young children at a school near the convent, Sister Mary Kateri finds a lack of intimacy in her life. She seeks God, the church and others in the convent again and again for answers. Patty shows us well the struggles and frustrations of all she’s asked to endure and accept, as if a caged dove. We walk with her in those dark moments of yearning for peace in her new life to those special moments of commitment to the convent. The habit in this memoir’s title is a symbol of the personal guilt and grief endured by Patty during her impressionable years. It is both the black wool habit a young teenage nun wears in the 1960’s that evolves to the less confining habit after a Vatican II upheaval in the Catholic Church of the 1970’s. This piece of clothing that adorns her in the convent is fraught with pain and loss. It comes to symbolize all she has hoped to leave behind in the secular world. It makes itself almost unfit for a dynamic young woman’s naïve and humble beginnings before God. Does she want it any other way? Is it too late for her to change her mind and go back to her other life? Can she even make that decision without being engulfed in guilt? Her convent life is an interesting backstory to her change of habits and interests, and yet the story is so much more.
The Change of Habit is almost beside the point as we witness this metaphor unfold in her tremendous drive and determination to heal and grow into the person she was meant to be. Her fans will support her and she will endear her fans to her. Her lack of true intimacy in the past is addressed for the reader. Her mindless devotion to the church and all its rules and need for control are offered but not hammered relentlessly. She explores alternatives for her life and shares them with us. Her important insights will influence even the staunchest Catholics. This book is thought provoking and at times fun to read. The details are delightful; the emotional rollercoaster is worth the ride. Some readers may yearn for a little less naivety and a little more depth, but Patty will not disappoint them as she takes them on her journey of hope. This reader found the story respectful of the women who serve God as a nun. You be the judge as God is their judge. Respectfully submitted, Patricia L. Brooks, author, publishing consultant www.brooksgoldmannpublishing.com