Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, Mass.
Can parents raise moral children in 21st-century America without the influence of religion? Andrew Park's memoir, Between a Church and a Hard Place: One Faith-Free Dad's Struggle to Understand What It Means to Be Religious (or Not) (Avery, Mar.), is the story of his quest to answer that question. In an entertaining, provocative style, Park relates his parents' disdain for religion, his brother's conservative faith, and his own uncertainty. My favorite parts are those that detail the road trips that he took during his pursuit. He visited the church of his prominent (religious) ancestors, joined an evangelical “comfort group,” attended a seminar by an advocate of religion-free parenting. With its serious and witty tone, the book is difficult to categorize: for some it is balm, to others irreverent. For me, this memorable book is about a regular guy trying to do what's best for his kids while searching for the answers to life's biggest questions. Fortunately, he allows us to join him on his search.