Book Reviews, Books, Ministry, Pastoral Life, Women in Ministry

Book Review: Near the Exit by Lori Erickson- An Episcopal deacon explores death from a spiritual perspective @NetGalley #ReviewAThon

Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper by Lori Erickson explores practices surrounding death abroad and close to home.

NetGalley is hosting a “Review A Thon,” throughout the entire month of August. Net Galley is a great website that provides free advanced reader copies to bloggers and readers in exchange for an honest review. I love books and I also enjoy saving money, so Net Galley is perfect for me.

I enjoy reading as a form of self care. Curling up with a good book is a form of stress relief for me. Sometimes I share book reviews here on my website, but throughout the month of August, I will be sharing even more book reviews than normal as I work my way through my massive “To Be Read,” pile on Net Galley.

What are you reading? Let me know in the comments below!

 My Review for Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper by Lori Erickson

The cover of the book shows cursive writing and a sugar skull

In her riveting travelogue, Near the Exit, Episcopal deacon Lori Erickson proves that you don’t have to travel far from home in order to go on a spiritual journey.

While dealing with her own deep and personal grief surrounding the death of her brother and her mother’s progressive dementia, Erickson decides to confront the specter of loss head on. She goes on a journey that is both literal and metaphorical. As she seeks to process her grief, she travels in order to learn about the ways different cultures process death. I was particularly fascinated by her travels in Egypt, New Zealand, and Mexico; however, the most poignant chapters for me were the ones in which she explored the world of hospice care and her mother’s nursing home. Like Erickson, I also work in the church, and I found her spiritual meditations on the end of life to be deeply thought provoking.

I read this entire book in one day. I simply couldn’t put it down. At times, Erickson’s heartfelt prose brought me close to tears. I’m at the age where I need to admit to myself that I will probably never stand in the shadow of the pyramids or climb the steps of an Aztec temple, but Erickson’s writing helped me to feel as if I was really there. More importantly than that, she reminded me that we do not need to travel farther than this moment in order to encounter the wonder of God’s miraculous presence. Her writing is a testament to the beauty of mindfulness and the preciousness of the present.

I plan on referring to some of Erickson’s anecdotes in my upcoming sermon for All Saints Sunday. If you’re a fan of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes or the HBO series Six Feet Under, you’re certain to enjoy this book- especially if you are of the spiritual persuasion.

Note: I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and options are my own. 

Publisher’s Description:

After her brother died unexpectedly and her mother moved into a dementia-care facility, spiritual travel writer and Episcopal deacon Lori Erickson felt called to a new quest: to face death head on, with the eye of a tourist and the heart of a pastor. Blending memoir, spirituality, and travel, Near the Exit examines how cultures confront and have confronted death, from Egypt’s Valley of the Kings and Mayan temples, to a Colorado cremation pyre and Day of the Dead celebrations, to Maori settlements and tourist-destination graveyards. Erickson reflects on mortality–the ways we avoid it, the ways we cope with it, and the ways life is made more precious by accepting it–in places as far away as New Zealand and as close as the nursing home up the street. Throughout her personal journey and her travels, Erickson helps us to see that one of the most life-affirming things we can do is to invite death along for the ride.

Book Details

Title:  Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper

Author: Lori Erickson

Genre: Nonfiction/ Christian / Travel

Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press

Length: 180 pages

Publication Date: August 13, 2019



Other Review-A-Thon Book Reviews:

Horse Crazy- A sociological exploration of why we love horses and how their love shapes us

A History of Art in 21 Cats – The purr-fect book to learn about art history!

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen is a delightful read for fans of Jane Auten’s novels.



What are you reading?

What are you currently reading?  I’m currently reading Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are on Audible! Have you heard of Audible? You can try Audible and get two free audiobooks as well as two Audible Originals!  As a person with low vision, I absolutely LOVE Audible. I use it all the time! Sign up for a free trial and even if you cancel your membership, you get to keep the audioboooks! Try Audible today. Your Ears will thank you!

 I would love to hear your comments below! Also, please don’t forget to subscribe so that you never miss a post. You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter! 



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