“A courageous and finely crafted portrait of a young woman struggling with her family, her faith, and that awkward space between being a child and growing into adulthood.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
“Unimaginable . . . As much an indictment of Christian Science as it is a memoir of her family’s experience of loss.”—O: the Oprah Magazine
Lucia Ewing had what looked like an all-American childhood, but when it came to accidents and illnesses, her parents didn’t take their kids to the doctor’s office—they prayed and called a Christian Science practitioner. As a teenager, her visit to an ophthalmologist created a family crisis, and she was a sophomore in college before she had her first annual physical. In December 1985, when Lucia and her siblings, by then young adults, discovered that their mother was sick, they came face-to-face with the reality that they had few—if any—options to save her. Powerless as their mother suffered, they were grief-stricken, angry, and confused.
In this haunting, beautifully written book, Lucia pulls back the curtain on the Christian Science faith and chronicles its complicated legacy for her family. At once an essentially American coming-of-age story and a glimpse into the practices of a religion few really understand, fathermothergod is an unflinching exploration of personal loss and the boundaries of family and faith.
One afternoon just before she turns eight, Greenhouse returns home from school to find her older sister, Olivia, curled up asleep on the couch, covered with little red spots. Lucia anxiously asks her mother if Olivia has the chicken pox. Her mother stiffly replies that Olivia is not sick, because Olivia is God's perfect child. In this one moment, her family's deeply seated beliefs in Christian Science become crystal clear to little Lucia, and she wrestles mightily with these teachings in the pages of this often gripping, sometimes melodramatic memoir. Greenhouse's struggles come to a head when her mother falls gravely ill with cancer; in the early stages of her illness, Greenhouse's parents seek the aid of Christian Science healers. As her mother's health deteriorates rapidly, she is moved to a hospital for treatment, but this move is too little, too late. Greenhouse very weakly tries to resolve the tension between her own beliefs and the Christian Science teachings that she never embraced, and she never works out the anger and resentment she has toward her father for what she believes are his misguided and unloving actions toward her mother.
Always looking for a memoir I can't put down, this is one.
Very informative too.
As a recovering adult from a Christian Science childhood, I was right there with the author at every twist and turn. The story brought back painful memories. To this day, my parents practice CS.... Huge rifts in the family exist...and, strangely, I am still a little protective of the right for them to practice. However, I am relieved to say, I broke free from the religion many years ago. As a child I spent years suffering from untreated strep throat, horrible scars from untreated chickenpox (no Calamine lotion), flues, etc. because of having never gone to a doctor until my twenties, I now suffer from severe uneven legs which has caused scoliosis, the need for a hip replacement, and constant joint issues. If I would have been treated a child-- who knows. Thanks to the author!!
Hard to put down
Compelling story about growing up in a Christian Science family. Honest writing style, it hooked me from the first page.