Synopses & Reviews
Running with Scissors
in this irresistible memoir, as Philip Smith describes growing up in 1960s Miami with his decorator father, who one day discovers he has the miraculous power to talk to the dead and heal the sick.
After a full day of creating beautiful interiors for the rich and famous, Lew Smith would come home, take off his tie, and get down to his real work as a psychic healer who miraculously cured thousands of people. For his son, Philip, watching his father transform himself, at a moment's notice, from gracious society decorator into a healer with supernatural powers was a bit like living with Clark Kent and Superman.
Walking Through Walls is Philip Smith's astonishing memoir of growing up in a household where séances, talking spirits, and exorcisms were daily occurrences, and inexplicable psychic healings resulted in visitors suddenly discarding their crutches and wheelchairs or being cured of fatal diseases.
While there are benefits to having a miracle man in the house, Philip soon discovers the downside of living with a father who psychically knows everything he is doing. Surrounded by invisible spirits who tend to behave like nagging relatives, Philip looks for ways to escape his mystical home life including forays into sex, surfing, and even Scientology.
By turns hilarious and profound, Walking Through Walls recounts Philip Smith's often bizarre but always magical coming of age in a household that felt like a cross between Lourdes and the set of Rosemary's Baby, and shows how he managed to map out his own identity in the shadow of a father who, truly, loomed larger than life itself.
"Smith, an artist and former managing editor of GQ magazine, reflects on his youth in 1960s Miami. He wanted 'a father who mowed the lawn, drank beer, and fell asleep in front of the TV.' Instead, his dad, Lew Smith, was a successful interior decorator, who went through a 'macrobiotic transformation' and began tuning into mystical vibrations. Young Philip was introduced to fasting and yogic diets, while Lew explored esoteric spirituality, reincarnation, Bach Flower Remedies and such metaphysical arcana as the akashic records, an 'ethereal Library of Congress' of every soul in human history: '[Philip] wasn't sure if this endless invisible database also included reruns of I Love Lucy or Perry Mason, but it probably did.' After a 1968 encounter with famed trance medium Arthur Ford, Lew found his true calling as a psychic healer, and 'overnight our isolated house became Lourdes central.' Smith's fine flair for waggish anecdotes is especially evident in his riotous recall of being suckered into Scientology at age 17. He looks back at his father with much affection in this mirthful memoir that bounces between the comic and the cosmic. Smith is a gifted humorist, and readers are certain to request more merriment. (Sept. 16)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"At long last, a subject worthy of a memoir. Philip Smith recounts the story of his father, a visionary, a psychic healer, and a saint, with matter-of-fact grace, without ever denying how difficult it was to be the child of a man with unlimited supernatural gifts. Lew Smith was a man we are unlikely to ever see the likes of again, one of the few fathers in literature whose death I mourned as if I'd known him. I wish I had known him; he was a miracle. Every page of Walking Through Walls reminded me of how vast the universe, and how meager the dreams of our philosophies." Haven Kimmel, author of Iodine and A Girl Named Zippy
"[A] delightful romp through the wildflower-and-crystal-strewn field of a psychic's family." Booklist
"Hilarious and touching; for fans of the goofball and paranormal." Library Journal
In this charming and profound memoir of a most unusual father-and-son relationship, Smith describes growing up in Miami during the psychedelic 1960s with his father, a renowned decorator, who one day discovers he can talk to the dead and heal the sick.
About the Author
Philip Smith is the former managing editor of GQ and an artist whose works are in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, among many others. He lives in Miami.