Book ReviewsCalled Out of Darkness: a spiritual confession

Book written by: Anne Rice.  New York : Knopf.  245 pages.  Hardback.  October 2008.  ISBN 978-0-307-26827-3.  $24.00.



Did you know that Anne Rice was given the name Howard Allen O’Brien at birth?  Rice, well-known for her series of novels, The Vampire Chronicles, shares this and some other intimate and personal information in a new book about her life story.


The first half of Rice’s book is devoted to her childhood.  She writes about her life with her family in New Orleans and tells of her Catholic experiences growing up.  As a child, Rice and her mother attended prayer services and Mass at various churches and chapels throughout the city.  Rice recalls her senses being enlivened by the sights, sounds, smells of the churches and chapels she visited.  She tells of the statues, the incense, the stain glass windows, the decorations of the altars, the vestments, and many other items connected with the Catholic Church of the 1940s and 50s.  These were wonderful memories to her.


Rice also discusses throughout the biography her difficulty with reading.  She could read and write but she could not read and retain or enjoy reading because she was more of a visual learner – which, she admits – is probably why memories of visiting churches have stuck with her so long and have made such an impact on her.


This reviewer thinks that after the death of Rice’s mother is when she began to question her faith and started becoming an atheist.  Rice used her famous vampire stories as a way to work out her faith issues.  It was a bit amusing for this reviewer that while he was reading her description of feeling the presence of God as if someone was there with her and then turning the next page and she describes the feeling like what is described in the famous poem.  God is always with us even if we are not aware of his presence; Blessed Teresa of Calcutta shows us that.  Rice goes into depth about this feeling of a presence in her biography.


If readers expect Rice to go into detail about the writing and meanings of her vampire books they will be disappointed.  While she has done this in other books and interviews, she devotes this book to her spiritual life and her conversion.  


This book is very inspiring and is a joy to read.  It is highly recommended to those interested in one of America’s famous authors, those interested in conversions, and Catholicism.


Anne Rice is the author of Road to Cana (2008) and Christ the Lord (2005) and in October 2009 her first volume of another series of fiction that will be on angels, Angel Time:  Songs of the Seraphim is expected to be published which will be the opposite of her infamous vampire stories.  These angels from reviews on Rice’s website ( are based on the Christian point of view. 

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