By the time he was nineteen, Frank Schaeffer's parents, Francis and Edith Schaeffer, had achieved global fame as bestselling evangelical authors and speakers, and Frank had joined his father on the evangelical circuit. He would go on to speak before thousands in arenas around America, publish his own evangelical bestseller, and work with such figures as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Dr. James Dobson. But all the while Schaeffer felt increasingly alienated, precipitating a crisis of faith that would ultimately lead to his departure—even if it meant losing everything.
With honesty, empathy, and humor, Schaeffer delivers “a brave and important book” (Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog)—both a fascinating insider's look at the American evangelical movement and a deeply affecting personal odyssey of faith.
Part autobiography, part parental tribute and part examination of how American evangelism got to where it is, versatile author Schaeffer tells a moving story of growing up and growing wise in his latest (after Baby Jack: A Novel). Raised in Switzerland in the utopian community and spiritual school his evangelical parents founded, Schaeffer was restless and aware even at a young age that "my life was being defined by my parent's choices." Still, he took to "the family business" well, following his dad as he became one of the "best-known evangelical leaders in the U.S." on whirlwind speaking tours. While rubbing shoulders with such empire builders as Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell, Schaeffer witnessed the birth of the Christian anti-abortion movement, and became an evangelical writer, speaker and star in his own right. His disillusionment, when it came, hit hard; while he would eventually achieve modest fame as a filmmaker and author (of novels and nonfiction), the initial stages of Schaeffer's post-religious life were anything but glamorous; a particularly moving passage describes Schaeffer shoplifting pork chops rather than return to the evangelical fold. Schaeffer does not mince words, making his narrative honest, inflammatory and at times quite funny; despite its excess length and some confusing chronological leaps, this story of faith, fame and family in modern America is a worthy read.