Synopses & Reviews
When Christine Rosen started kindergarten, her ABCs included the Apocalypse, the Bible, and Christ. At Keswick Christian School "the Bible was our textbook," God the guide, and after entering the school gates, nothing was ever quite the same again. Christine learned creation science, dreamed of becoming a missionary to exotic countries, worried about the souls of Jews and Mormons, and experienced unusual methods of sex education. With the threat of nuclear annihilation at the hands of atheistic Russians looming, she also frequently prayed for rapture.
At home, Florida life seemed happily to confirm several literal truths: the story of Moses, with its plagues that afflicted the Egyptians — from lice, to rivers of stinking dead fish, to hordes of frogs — might have been describing Christine's back yard.
My Fundamentalist Education is a brilliant, affectionate, child's-eye journey to Rosen's home, school and small town. Set in a time and place when the Living Bible outsold The Joy of Sex, during a girlhood lived as the Lord intended, among the tropical flora and fauna of Florida, its televangelists, irascible elderly, and itinerant preachers, Christine Rosen and her sister, Cathy, uncover the not always godly but surely divine secrets of a Hallelujah-ya sisterhood.
"Rosen (Preaching Eugenics), a fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, knows her King James Bible backward and forward. For this she thanks the fundamentalist school she attended from kindergarten until eighth grade, when her parents finally figured out 'what we were learning about television, and movies, and, most important, about men and women.' In many respects Keswick Christian School in the 1980s was like fabled Catholic schools of the 1950s: misbehaving students were paddled, girls forced to kneel on the floor to check skirt lengths, boys and girls required to keep a respectful six-inch distance from one another. But to Keswick students, Catholics and even some Protestants weren't true Christians, and it was incumbent upon the children to learn 'strict morals and Bible belief' and then to 'witness' to playmates and families. Alas, writes Rosen, 'by the close of third grade, I found I'd not yet converted a single living soul.' While young Christine was absorbing an ascetic worldview, her erratic mother was discovering and unsuccessfully trying to interest her daughter in Pentecostal fervor. Although today Rosen lives 'an entirely secular life,' her tone is affectionate rather than critical, and her subtle humor and ironically accurate descriptions will appeal to others with stringent religious backgrounds." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
When Rosen started kindergarten, her ABCs included the Apocalypse, the Bible, and Christ. This is her funny, touching memoir of growing up in St. Petersburg, Florida, in a household, school, and town of flourishing Biblical literalism.