When I picked up One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both, I knew very little about Jennifer Fulwiler other than she is a well-known Catholic writer and radio personality. In fact, I was fully prepared to hate this book, expecting something along the lines of, “Look at how wonderful my life is. I have it all and you could, too, if only you were [fill in your favorite adjective] enough.”
I was wrong. Fulwiler comes across as incredibly human with the wonderful ability to laugh at herself. She describes herself as a career atheist who never wanted a family, yet ended up having six babies in eight years “and learned how to follow my dreams in the process.”
She opens the book with a supermarket disaster that only moms who have tried to navigate grocery shopping with two toddlers can fully understand. Throughout the book she shares her honest challenges of having a large family of small children, including many laugh-out-loud moments. She also shares her medical issues, her struggles with natural family planning, and her desire to pursue her “blue flame,” her personal passion of writing.
While this is primary a memoir of a challenging few years in Fulwiler’s life, she has much wisdom to offer mothers, especially those struggling to balance family and work, in whatever form that work might take. Her story is individual and remarkable, yet universal in that every woman must attempt to figure out what “having it all” means for her. We all must try to fulfill the vocational missions that God has given us.
As Fulwiler states, she came to realize it was “a beautiful dream I was living – not in spite of all the unexpected twists and turns, but because of them.” The same can be said of all of us. Fulwiler has outdone herself with One Beautiful Dream. This memoir, both funny and touching, is well-worth spending some of your precious time with.