Called Out of Darkness

Anne Rice’s book entitled Called Out of Darkness: a spiritual confession is an account of her life as it relates to religion and how she has refocused her writing towards Jesus Christ. Ms. Rice is the author of 20 books of gothic, vampire-themed novels, a few other writings (adult-themed and erotica) under pseudonyms, and 2 books about the life of Christ. I was curious to read what made her change the focus of her writing from vampires to religious themes and to find out about her life before and after this transition.

Ms. Rice’s first book and later the popular movie was Interview with the Vampire. I personally never read this book and never did see the movie for some unknown reason (perhaps I was burnt out on Tom Cruise at the time). The only books of hers that I have read are the last two she wrote before writing Called Out of Darkness. I read both of them in the bookstore and they are very easy, quick reads. The first, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, is about the life of “Yeshua” when he is a child returning to Palestine from the flight to Egypt with his mother, father, and extended family. The second, Christ the Lord, The Road to Cana, is about Jesus’ decision to leave his family and friends and begin traveling around the Holy Land. I love reading historical fiction, so I enjoyed how Ms. Rice fictionalized the life of Jesus to make the characters seem real by showing their weaknesses, feelings, and hardships. I especially enjoyed the second book because Ms. Rice creatively shows the two sides of Jesus. Also, she had to do extensive research for both of these works, which I always appreciate.

Ms. Rice’s own story in Called Out of Darkness is focused on her spiritual life and not on her writing or personal life. She does tell her life story, but does not delve into great detail, nor does she get intensely personal about her feelings, only about her spirituality. She focuses on her Catholic upbringing (pre-Vatican II) in New Orleans, surrounded by her Irish Catholic family, in their Catholic neighborhood. As a child she only knew Catholic people and lived in a completely Catholic world. Apparently, her mother was a raging alcoholic and died when Ms. Rice was a teenager. I was surprised to learn that Ms. Rice moved to Texas because her father remarried a Southern Baptist lady from Richardson, Texas (a suburb of Dallas). Ms. Rice then went to Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas (also home to my alma mater of the University of North Texas). She met her husband Stan Rice in Denton and from there they moved to California.

After so many changes and being away from the Catholic world, Ms. Rice became the popular writer she has been for so long. She and her husband had a little girl that died of leukemia when she was 6 years old. Later she had a son, Christopher, who also writes. In the late 1990’s, she was found to be a Type I diabetic and almost died when she lapsed into a diabetic coma. She got better and later the Rices moved back to New Orleans. She got back in touch with all her Catholic relatives and was surprised to find she wasn’t some sort of outcast from them and their religion. She enjoyed seeing her old churches and neighborhoods and her submerged Catholic faith was reawakened in her. She does spend a long time writing about some signs and coincidences that gave her pause to reflect on her spirituality and lost and found faith. Stan Rice died in 2002 and Ms. Rice moved to California and now lives in Rancho Mirage. She moved back to California just before Hurricane Katrina. She has decided to only write about Jesus.

I just now have viewed AnneRice.com, Ms. Rice’s official website. This author’s site is very extensive compared to many I have seen. I intend to peruse it thoroughly in the near future.