When Amy Andrews and Jessica Mesman Griffith met in a creative writing class in graduate school, they both confessed to writing about God. They bonded one night while reading the Book of Ruth and came to truly understand the unlikely friendship of Ruth and Naomi. In these two Old Testament women, they witnessed a beautiful spiritual friendship and a way of walking with one another toward God.
But how could they travel this path together when they would be separated by distance and time and leading busy lives as they established marriages and careers? They decided to write letters to each other—at first, for each day of Lent, but those days extended into years. Their letters became a memoir in real time and reveal deeply personal and profound accounts of conversion, motherhood, and crushing tragedy; through it all, their faith and friendship sustained them.
Told through the timeless medium of letters—in prose that is raw and intimate, humorous and poetic—Love & Salt is at its core the emotional struggle of how one spiritual friendship is formed and tested in tragedy, tempered and proven in hope.
About the Author
is the co-author of the award-winning Love & Salt: A Spiritual Friendship Shared in Letters
, a recipient of the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction
, and she teaches mathematics at Northwestern University. She lives in Evanston with her husband and two children.
Jessica Mesman Griffith is a widely published writer whose work has been noted in Best American Essays. Her memoir, Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship in Letters, co-authored with Amy Andrews, won the 2014 Christopher Award for “literature that affirms the highest values of the human spirit.” She is co-founder and curator of the blog Sick Pilgrim, a space for fellow travelers, a rest stop for people who have Catholic minds or hearts or aesthetics or attractions and need companions for the journey. Her articles and essays have also appeared in Elle, Image, America, Christianity Today, Notre Dame Magazine, Busted Halo, and Living Faith, among others. Jessica is the co-founder of Trying to Say God: Re-enchanting the Catholic Imagination, a literary festival at the University of Notre Dame. has spoken about spiritual writing and literary nonfiction at colleges and universities, the Festival of Faith and Writing, the Associated Writing Program’s annual conferences, and the Neiman Conference for Narrative Journalism at Harvard University. She has appeared as a guest on NPR’s Interfaith Voices, CBC’s Tapestry, and on various shows for Relevant Radio and Sirius/XM The Catholic Channel. Jessica has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She was then one of ten scholars selected by Patricia Hampl to complete a post-graduate Fellowship in the Erasmus Institute for Spiritual Autobiography at the University of Notre Dame. She is a member of Ink: A Creative Collective of writers on spirituality and religion and is represented by the MacGregor Literary Agency.
"Combining a modern sensibility with ancient spiritual wisdom, Love and Salt vividly demonstrates how two friends can become companions on the road to God."
--The 2014 Christopher Awards
"There's so much to love here: two articulate women who are not afraid to share their doubts and flaws as well as their joys and discoveries. It's not that much of a stretch to call this something like an epistolary novel: you'll get involved in their lives. You'll wonder how the story is going to turn out. You'll encounter love and loss, crises and triumphs, but throughout it hear these moving, honest voices—hungry for God yet vulnerable, wise, and true to one another."
--Gregory Wolfe, publisher of IMAGE
“I want to shove this book into the hands of everyone with a skewed, incomplete vision of what it means to live a faithful Christian life ... Here is a testimony to what the life of faith is really like. It is messy. It is lovely. It is heartbreaking. It is joyful. It is paradox. It is true
.”- Ellen Painter Dollar, No Easy Choice
“Their letter-writing takes on that tone common to those of us who have read the exchanges between C.S. Lewis and Sheldon Vanauken. Intimate missives about God and doubt. Imploring questions about the mysteries of life and the certainty of death.”- Karen Spears Zacharias, Patheos
“Love & Salt
is an achingly beautiful new book … each [letter] a deep soul dive that leaves you savoring, while yearning for the next – revealing an exquisite, honest, heart-breaking and ultimately hopeful portrait of two lives deeply lived, contemplated, shared, and redeemed in the context of the search for God.”- Debra Arca, Managing Editor Patheos
“Without giving too much away, I can safely tell you that this book is life-changing
… The reading is so enjoyable, I stayed up far past my bedtime, enraptured by the letters.”
- Laura Booz, Blogger Behave
, Ten Million Miles
“The first word that comes to mind in describing Jess and Amy’s letters to each other is luxurious … the authors held each day up like a prism to examine for its various light and dark effects … They also chronicle the aesthetic evolution of two very gifted writers.”- Elizabeth Duffy, The Constant Convert
"As I choose my own Lenten practice, I know I will be accompanied by... the articulate and brave writers, Amy and Jessica, of Love and Salt
."- Elizabeth Nordquist, A Musing Amma
“This book is sincere in the most beautiful expression of that word. You read a part of the two women’s souls… feel yourself wrenched along lives filled with questions… I have no doubt that, a year from now, I will still be raving about this book. It is one of the best examples of 'spiritual memoir' I have ever read, told in conversation and by real people
… Highly, highly, HIGHLY recommended.”- Sarah Reinhard, The Snoring Scholar
"It is hard not to treat this book, so uncommonly honest, almost with reverence, for within its pages lies such personal and raw emotion that treating it with anything less would feel wrong."
--Catholic News Service
"Love and Salt
is full of sacramental imagination. Amy Andrews and Jessica Mesman Griffith render things like a walk through a graveyard, a dream about an elevator, and a Neil Young song into something else entirely…These writers are practiced at seeing Catholicly: casting a sacramental glance at the world." --The Christian Century