Cover image for Driving by moonlight : a journey through love, war, and infertility
Driving by moonlight : a journey through love, war, and infertility
Henderson, Kristin.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Seal Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
309 pages ; 21 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX7795.H46 A3 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BX7795.H46 A3 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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After 9/11, Kristin Henderson's husband, a Lutheran Marine chaplain, is shipped out to Afghanistan, and Henderson, a Quaker, finds herself alone, and her own faith and belief in pacifism sorely tested. Together with her German shepherd, Rosie, Henderson sets off on a cross-country journey in her 1978 Corvette, exploring a changed country and her own altered emotional landscape. From the whispering Iowan corn fields and the simple fortitude of her Quaker kin, to the desolation of a snow-swept lodge in the Rocky Mountains and the quiet gifts of strangers, Henderson seeks guidance and searches for answers on the road. She muses on her life as a military wife, on the unexpected divergence in faith that tested her marriage, and details, with honesty and fierce bravery, the devastating battle with infertility that nearly tore it apart. In this intelligent meditation on how life--like topographical boundaries--resists strict borders, and on the freedom that comes with letting go, Kristin Henderson gives us an ultimately hopeful and affirming memoir.

Author Notes

Kristin Henderson is a resident of Washington, D.C., where her essays are featured regularly in the Washington Post. Henderson is a former Bread Loaf scholar whose short fiction has been nominated for a Pusheart Prize

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Henderson's memoir could be characterized by a gimmicky, high-concept sentence: When a Quaker woman's military-chaplain husband is sent with the troops to Afghanistan just after the couple learns they can't have children, she sets off on a cross-country drive with their dog. At least that conveys that Henderson's vivid book records a journey. Checking her e-mail in California, yearning for a message from her husband, she reads of a neighborhood party back home that will end with smashing an Osama bin Laden pinata. That prompts her to recall her recent, unreasoning desire to see something destroyed over there, which she realizes has been transformed into the question, Shouldn't we strive not to give in to that part of ourselves? As she untwists her reactions to being a pacifist in a nation at war, she doesn't deny ambivalent and sometimes contradictory feelings. Pacifism, she shows, is no simplistic anti reaction but a way of daily living. She recounts her childhood Quakerism, young-adult religious experimentation, and mature return to early faith, and as she does also tells the heart-wrenching tale of trying to bear a child, which involved exhausting and expensive treatments and, for a time, even threatened her marriage. Like pacifism, fertility is a goal that may seem simple but isn't necessarily easily attained. Henderson's complex, compelling, timely story will haunt her readers. --Patricia Monaghan Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The events of September 11, 2001, caused many Americans to re-examine their core beliefs. Henderson, a Quaker married to a Marine chaplain (and former Lutheran minister), was already juggling a multitude of contradictory beliefs before the terrorist attacks. This chronicle of a cross-country road trip with her German shepherd, Rosie, in a '78 Corvette, as her husband is shipped off to Afghanistan with the Marines, is less a travelogue than an intimate musing on her inner struggles, a time-out to come to terms with shifting religious beliefs, a complicated marriage and, primarily, her long, painful and unsuccessful attempt to have a baby. As she is a sophisticated and humorous writer, Henderson's initial naivet? about politics, religion and life in general is surprising. But this ingenuousness is redeemed by her frank acknowledgment that she hasn't a clue, and by her search for meaning. She whimsically compares her variety of religious experiences to cars (Quakerism is a Pacer; atheism, an MG; born-again Christianity, a custom leisure van; Lutheranism, a Ford sedan). Unlike her Midwestern Quaker cousins, after September 11, with her husband at risk, she becomes impatient with pacifism and excited about American flags. But Henderson slowly evolves to more nuanced views, from thinking of God as an indulgent, wish-fulfilling parent to considering, "maybe all the Light cares about is whether or not I live more fully in the Light...." She eventually finds a difficult and intriguing inner peace, concluding, "The world needs both Quakers and Marines. So does my marriage. And within myself, so do I." Photos. Agent, Sam Stoloff. (Oct. 15) Forecast: Educated Americans struggling with questions about September 11 and the recent American militarism will find this intriguing, as will women with infertility problems. It may not give answers, but it will provoke questions about war, pacifism, the desire for children and the "right" to procreate. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When her Marine chaplain husband shipped off to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, Henderson found herself alone with conflicting thoughts about pacifism and her pain over not becoming pregnant. So she embarked on a cross-country road trip with her German shepherd, Rosie, in her '78 Corvette to ponder religion, politics, and life in general. Raised a politically liberal Quaker, she had experimented with atheism and born-again Christianity before marrying her former Lutheran minister husband. Then she caused a serious rift in the marriage when she suggested doubt about Christ's divinity. The delicate narrative recounts her various adventures on the road-for example, her being stranded in the Rockies during an early snowstorm-but focuses primarily on her emotional journey to a more mature understanding of God and her inability to have children. She even finds an appreciation for the outburst of patriotism and flag waving throughout the country. A humorous and astute writer, Henderson skillfully weaves past events, her email correspondence with her husband, and the day-to-day details of her trip into an evocative story. Recommended for large public libraries.-Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Shipping Outp. 1
If Religions Were Carsp. 15
The Father He Hatedp. 33
The Illusion of Controlp. 53
Friendly Waysp. 69
Bathrooms and Life's Other Unnecessary Layersp. 95
Finding God in a Snowstormp. 115
Semper Gumbyp. 131
In a Blink I'll Be Gonep. 145
This Road Sucksp. 163
Jesus Likes Mep. 189
A Roll of the Dicep. 209
Howdy, Neighborp. 225
Alien Nationp. 245
Death and Texasp. 259
Psychic Powersp. 271
The Road to Dog Zenp. 279
Joy Ridep. 297