Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tiber River Review: No Turning Back

If you are interested in reading an engaging conversion story, a story of a very bad boy who later became a conservative Catholic priest, No Turning Back may be just the book for you.  

Fr. Donald Calloway was the son of a teen-aged mother and father.  Their marriage included moving far from friends and family, and ended up not lasting long.  His mom returned to her father's house for a while before marrying an alcoholic.  In order to support the family, his mother joined the Navy and left him with his step-father while she attended boot camp.  Their marriage too did not last long.  His mom's third husband was a Navy officer, and with him at the lead, the family moved frequently during Donald's pre-teen and teen years.  He resented this and got involved in drugs and crime.  While they were in Japan, he and a friend ran away from home and lived off of petty and not so petty crime, until they were caught and deported.  Back in the US  he did a couple of stints in rehab but never had any desire to quit drugs or crime until one day when feeling really down, he found a book about Medjugorje on the bookcase and began to read it.  

Something happened that night and the next morning Donald told his mother (who like St. Monica had never given up on her son) that he wanted to speak to a Catholic priest.  He ended up with the Catholic chaplain on base and spoke to him for several hours.  While it took time to complete the conversion process, Calloway, according  to the book, was a changed man immediately.  

Shortly after his conversion he felt called to the priesthood, and after rejections from some communities and looking at others, he chose and was accepted by the Marians, an order devoted to Mary and the promulgation of devotion to Divine Mercy.  The story takes us through his formation years and through his current life as a priest.

The book is written in the first person and it is like sitting down to talk with Fr. Calloway.  Some of the grammar isn't perfect, and you get expressions like something "sucked".  Father makes no bones about the fact that Mary led him to Jesus, and that before that happened, his life was a mess.  He sees Catholicism as a take-it or leave it proposition--he doesn't understand cafeteria Catholicism and as a convert he hungered for the "meat" of Catholic teaching rather than the fluff taught in his parish's RCIA program.  

I found the book to be a quick, engaging, inspiring read and recommend it.  I'd like to thank the Tiber River review program for sending me a review copy.  You can purchase a copy from Aquinas and More which claims to the be the largest on-line Catholic bookstore.  


  1. Sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sounds like a good one

  3. Sounds good. How does the Tiber River review program work? Would be nice to work with a Catholic publisher.

  4. Nicola, if you go to you can sign up. Basically, you select one of the books from their preferred list; they send you a complimentary copy, you write a review, which they publish on their site and you publish on your blog.

    The Catholic Company ( ) also has a reviewer program. I find their interface easier to use.

  5. Thanks RAnn! I signed up for both, so we'll see. The Catholic Company looks like they may be US only because the form didn't have anywhere to put Canada but it didn't say anywhere US only so I filled it out anyway and gave them all my creds. (LOL)


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