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Given Up for You: A Memoir of Love, Belonging and Belief

University Of Wisconsin-March 2018

At twenty-four, she fell in love—with Jesus, and with another woman.


"Given Up for You is a wonder—as poetic, spare, and declarative as the gospels themselves.                                      --Forward Reviews (starred review)

White’s excellent, often heartbreaking memoir is about how faith and desire intersect—and when an impassible distance remains between them.                                         --Nick Ripatrazone, in Literary Hub's 15 Books You Should Read This March

White is an excellent writer. Her prose is poetic, funny, and deeply honest.
--The Christian Century


Given Up for You is a masterful meditation on the claims of queer desire, Catholic faith, and motherhood. Erin White has written that rare and wonderful thing: an intimately personal page-turner that raises complex questions about the wider world and our future in it..”
—Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks

"Erin O. White’s wonderful book is about the blessings—and the burdens—of love, both spiritual and carnal. In White’s heart, there may be no act more subversive than surrender, no prayer more devout than desire itself. This memoir is joyful, erotic, and contemplative. A miracle!"
—Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There and Long Black Veil

In this candid and revelatory memoir, Erin O. White shares her romantic and divine hungers. Young and in love in the late 90s, White attempted to juggle two desires that were as unexpected as they were transforming. She spent Saturday nights with her girlfriend and Sunday mornings in Catholic confirmation classes. But when the Catholic Church closed its doors to her, White was faced with a question: What does a believer—who is also a lesbian—do with her longing for God?

“A testament to the struggle to reconcile desire and belief, and a poignant reminder of what’s lost when a church refuses to open its doors wide. In beautiful prose, White shares her grief and longing for a faith denied, and in that telling claims a wholeness that was hers all along.”
—Sarah Sentilles, author of Breaking Up with God

“With grace, wit, humor, and raw honesty, White gives us a story that wounds, entices, makes the reader want to say, Oh, yes, me too. This is a book for everyone who has been on a journey of love and longing. An important work.”
—Rilla Askew, author of Most American

"In this tender, unsentimental and powerfully honest story, Erin O. White writes of a real life shaped by longing for God. Her prose shines, and her devotion burns: she reveals, in an utterly contemporary context, what Gregory of Nyssa saw in the fourth century: God creates life; life beholds beauty; beauty begets love;
love is the life of God.  
A wonderful book."
—Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion, and City of God.