Fathermothergod by Lucia Greehouse is a memoir of a woman raised by converts to Christian Science and the effect that their conversion had upon their family.
The sub title of the book is: My Journey Out of Christian Science. However, the author states that she has never personally believed in Christian Science herself, and the book does not feel like an inside view of the religion as a whole. Greenhouse tends to focus on the aspect of Christian Science that affected her most dramatically, that of the conviction against seeking medical attention.
That said, healthcare is a major aspect of life, and Greenhouse did a decent job of building up the way in which Christian Science’s no medical treatment doctrine played out in their childhood, with such cases as chicken pox and concussions, and crescendos with the enormity of its affect on her mother’s heartbreaking battle with cancer.
Throughout the memoir, Greehouse seems to be trying to work out for herself why her parents chose the religion they did, what about Christian Science attracted them, and how they could truly believe teachings that are so obviously contradicted in everyday life. Teachings such as there being no such thing as injury, illness, disease, or contagions and any symptoms of such being only illusions invented by the sinful mind and evidence of a failing faith on the part of the affected.
Greenhouse also uses fathermothergod as the eulogy her mother deserved, but had been denied under the teachings of Christian Science, which does not observe such natural life events as birth, marriage, and death.
I picked up Greenhouse’s book expecting a full view of what it is like to be a practicing Christian Scientist and the difficulty of pulling yourself out of that community, and was left feeling let down in that expectation. However, the story that is presented is a very moving and thought provoking one, if not as full-bodied as I would have liked to see.
Alyssa is a wife and stay at home, homeschooling mother of five, with two boxers, two cats, a soft shelled turtle named after Bob the Builder, and 7 frogs (admittedly a homeschooling project gone froggy). In all her spare time, she loves to read and believes that there is no such thing as having too many books!
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Crown Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.