The Life and Loves of an Ex-Nun describes the tremendous impact on the author's early life decisions when she nearly lost her mother to a stroke. She shares her memories of her traditional Italian and Catholic upbringing. We get to see the life she leads as a postulant, and the bouts of homesickness and loneliness, as well as the fun and joy of those highschool years at the Villa.The author relays the experiences and intense preparation that goes into becoming a novice. Hilarious incidents are recalled djuring the year of training. She also gives us a vivid picture of Glen Morgan's mansion in Glen Cove, Long Island, that was now used by the Baptistine community. The author expresses her emotions during the formal ceremony that takes place and the bestowing of a new name beginning her new life as a nun."Sister Vincent Anne," describes her preparation for taking the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Details follow of living out in "a house" teaching and going to college. The chapter includes some humorous descriptions of the Mother Superior and the authors not-so-humorous interactions. She also relates the incident that was the catalyst to begin the author's disillusionment with religious life and the tragedy that affected everyone in the community, especially the author. We get to read and feel the author's agony in finalizing her decision to leave. It also gives the reader an inside view of the incidents that took place in planning and then the execution of the departure. Again, humor is interjected, which relieves the gravity of the situation. Jo Marie relates a hilarious encounter she and her "comrades" experience on their first social adventure together.Adjusting to life on the "outside" the author begins her journey with completing her degree and simultaneously teaching in a Bronx private school, and eventually falling in love with Andrew. A crisis of faith is hastened by a priest's sermon during a Sunday Mass. Events that span seven years lead to the final collapse of her marriage, in large part due to Andrew's excessive apathy, indifference, and abuse of alcohol. A serious need for change becomes evident when she feels burned-out from everything that is going on in her life. Dealing with her much-loved father, who is suffering from severe depression, takes a huge emotional toll. She relates the initiative that she and her brother felt compelled to take after their dad's attempted suicide. She is burnt out on teaching and the pace of her existence.The author begins therapy to address her concerns and find a way to cope with the mounting stress. She eventually tries to decide between the two relationships. She begins first with Josh, realizing after a few months that this would be an unsatisfactory long term commitment. Roberto comes back into her life, but that relationship eventually falls apart. She now is single again and feeling some relief. In time, her father recovers and life becomes more manageable.A short lived relationship begins with Martin and we are lead from their beginnings to their disturbing end.Adventure and a sense of freedom occur when she decides that she needs to make a drastic change that includes her location, career, and relationships. After receiving approval for a one year leave- of-absence from her teaching, the author takes the opportunity to accept the invitation of a friend to live in Aurora, Colorado. The rest of the memoirs continues her journey of love lost and love found.