I’ve only met Lisa De Pasquale once, very briefly, but after reading Finding Mr. Righteous, I feel as though I’ve known her for years. Finding Mr. Righteous was a touching, entertaining, and at times heartbreaking memoir about dating and a search for spiritual truth in the District of Columbia.
Fair warning: this book is neither for the faint of heart nor for those who find themselves to be easily susceptible to secondhand embarrassment. That being said, De Pasquale’s candor and personal depth is a refreshing change from the rhetoric typically employed by conservative authors.
The premise of the book is interesting: De Pasquale, a self-described “Christian in name only” has a series of relationships with men of varying religious faiths (or non-faiths—the opening chapter is about “Chris the Atheist”) in an attempt to both find “Mr. Right” as well as find and strengthen a relationship with God. While this book may be labeled as a “dating memoir,” the book is about more than just dating, or just Christianity—it’s about a woman in D.C. searching to find herself in the midst of, well, all of the things life throws at a person.
Finding Mr. Righteous is an easy, fun read, perfect for an airplane or a day lounging at the beach. While it may be easy to dismiss the book as being “chick lit,” it is far more cerebral and much better written than what one would typically find in the genre. Also, although the book is written by a conservative activist and the majority of the setting consists of various conservative conferences, the book is by no means exclusively a conservative book to be read by conservatives only. The challenges faced by De Pasquale are those faced by all women, regardless of political affiliation, and while the author’s political beliefs provide some sort of context for the stories, they’re not presented in a way that would make the book off-putting to those who have other political beliefs.
At one point in the book, De Pasquale writes “Bridget Jones is my spirit animal.” This is a far more accurate assessment than anything I could have come up with. While De Pasquale’s behavior during some chapters is borderline questionable, (in the chapter “Adam the Jew,” she was the “other woman” in the relationship), she redeems herself well as the book progresses and as she matures as a woman and begins to realize what she actually wants out of life and in a man. I particularly enjoyed the chapter about Buster, her dog—it was a nice departure from the somewhat salacious stories to showcase a different kind of love: that between a pet and his owner.
De Pasquale writes, brutally honestly at times, about the difficulties of balancing a career, personal convictions, and a dating life all while combating the petty infighting that plagues the beltway conservative moment. Having attended a decent number of the events described in the book, it was fascinating to see an insider’s view of all of the goings-on needed to make the events happen. It was also quite interesting to see how the internal politics of hosting large conservative events play out. It was also disappointing, at least from the point of view of a young conservative, to read about how incredibly stubborn certain influential people in the movement can be.
The fact that De Pasquale has not completely gone insane/left the conservative movement entirely despite the hardships she has faced is an accomplishment in and of itself. Her perseverance and drive throughout the various trials and tribulations she experienced at her jobs during the book is nothing short of inspiring. I admire De Pasquale for taking a stand for what she believed was right in spite of any personal consequences.
As someone who is a young single woman just beginning her career in the D.C. area, I can consider Finding Mr. Rightous to be equal part road map and cautionary tale for navigating the dating scene in the area. It was an entertaining read, and a definite departure from the typical “conservative author” piece. Finding Mr. Righteous is unlike any book I have ever read, and I would thoroughly recommend it.