Synopses & Reviews
“A penetrating analysis of political extremism, with a moving and at times hilarious account of growing up in one of the Christian right’s most influential families. Few writers command Frank Schaeffer’s intimate understanding of right-wing radicalism, and even fewer are able to share their insight as entertainingly and with as much moral weight as he has in Sex, Mom, and God
.”—Max Blumenthal, author of Republican Gomorrah “Mom was a much nicer person than her God. There are many biblical regulations about everything from beard-trimming to menstruating. Mom worked diligently to recast her personal-hygiene-obsessed God in the best light.”
Alternating between laugh-out-loud scenes from his childhood and acidic ruminations on the present state of an America he and his famous fundamentalist parents helped create, bestselling author Frank Schaeffer asks what the Glenn Becks and the Rush Limbaughs and the paranoid fantasies of the “right-wing echo chamber” are really
Here’s a hint: sex.
The unforgettable central character in Sex, Mom, and God is the author’s far-from-prudish evangelical mother, Edith, who sweetly but bizarrely provides startling juxtapositions of the religious and the sensual thoughout Schaeffer’s childhood. She was, says Frank Schaeffer, “the greatest illustration of the Divine beauty of Paradox I’ve encountered … a fundamentalist living a double life as a lover of beauty who broke all her own judgmental rules in favor of creativity.”
Charlotte Gordon, the award-winning author of Mistress Bradstreet, calls Sex, Mom, and God “a tour de force . . . Sarah Palin, ‘The Family,’ Anne Hutchinson, adultery, abortion, homophobia, Uganda, Ronald Reagan, B. B. King, Billy Graham, Hugh Hefner—it’s all here. This is the kind of book I did not want to end.”
Kirkus Reviews, 5/15/11
“The book shines in sections centered on Edith, a ‘life-embracing free spirit’…A consummate memoirist, Schaeffer fills the narrative with interesting anecdotes…The sage conversation on a New York-bound bus with a distraught Asian girl is warmly resonant and a befitting conclusion to…[a] book of ruminations, memories and frustrated opinion.”
“[A] startlingly honest work, which is part memoir and part religious history…Intriguing fare.”
Church of England Newspaper, 5/13/11 “Part memoir, part exploration of evangelical views.”
Kirkus Reviews, 5/15/11
“The book shines in sections centered on Edith, a ‘life-embracing free spirit’…A consummate memoirist, Schaeffer fills the narrative with interesting anecdotes…The sage conversation on a New York-bound bus with a distraught Asian girl is warmly resonant and a befitting conclusion to…[a] book of ruminations, memories and frustrated opinion.”Booklist, 5/15/11
“[A] startlingly honest work, which is part memoir and part religious history…Intriguing fare.” Church of England Newspaper, 5/13/11
“Part memoir, part exploration of evangelical views.”
PoliticusUSA.com, 5/16/11“A work that alternates from heartwarming to thought provoking to laugh out loud funny…Schaeffer brilliantly guides the reader through an exploration of the Bible’s strange, intolerant, and sometimes frightening attitudes about sex, and how these Biblical teachings, through the evangelical grassroots of the Republican Party, have come to dominate the GOP stance…Schaeffer’s writing style combines intelligence, warmth, humor, depth and insight…Sex, Mom, and God is hands down one of the best non-fiction books of the year.”
Kirkus Reviews (website), 6/1/11
“The memoir, the third and last in Schaeffer’s God trilogy, unfolds in lucid anecdotal excursions probing the chinks that later became gaping holes in the fundamentalist walls that penned him in.” Internet Review of Books, 6/8/11
“A fond and sometimes hilarious look back at [Schaeffer’s] mother’s child-rearing methods and the effect they had on him…Schaeffer’s journey demonstrates that the world could be a better place if we were all able to reassess our beliefs and values—to examine them closely and glean only those worth saving.” Library Journal, 6/15/11“Well worth reading, highly entertaining, and very informative about the recent history of American evangelicalism. It will appeal to readers interested in the world today, memoir, or religion.” Huffington Post, 6/13/11“Intelligent and easy to read; it transitions smoothly back and forth between story-telling and point-making prose…In his portrayal of Edith Schaeffer, Frank is able to call out the nuttiness of the religious right and to humanize conservative and Evangelical Christians in the same narrative. It is the deft work of a talented writer practicing his craft…It is a bit of wisdom our entire nation—hell, the whole world—needs to hear.” RH Reality Check, 6/16/11“Part memoir, part revelation about Evangelical pathology, and part prescription for theological sanity, the book has much to recommend it.” Patheos.com, 6/16/11“Offers an insider's glimpse into how fundamentalism became the dominant voice in the U.S. political area.” InfoDad.com, 6/16/11
“Frequently entertaining.” The Humanist, July/August 2011“[Schaeffer’s] stories aren’t just interesting, they’re also well told…[He] serves up an intriguing combination that’s part sexual memoir and part exposé of religious right extremism. It’s a strange combination to be sure, but in the hands of a gifted wordsmith like Schaeffer it works.” State of Formation, 6/20/11
“Part memoir, part theology, and part political commentary…An ambitious undertaking. But Sex, Mom, and God did not disappoint. Alternating between laugh-out-loud episodes and poignant reflections, Schaeffer recounts with candor the influence his mother had on both his beliefs and the beliefs of a generation of Evangelicals…His readers—believers and non-believers alike—will be challenged to reconsider their views about politics, sex, and religion.” The Daily Beast, 6/24/11
“Intriguing…[Schaeffer’s] privileged view of the Christian right’s sexual weirdness makes his account particularly interesting, and helps explain why the aggressively pious so frequently destroy themselves with sex scandals.”
Milwaukee Shepherd-Express, 7/7/11
“[Schaeffer] has grown into rueful middle age with his sense of sarcasm sharpened… Sex, Mom and God dips into the same well as Crazy for God and draws irony and venom from its depths.”WomanAroundTown.com, 6/16/11“By turns biting, funny, and thought provoking.”
Washington Post, 7/10/11“[Schaeffer’s] memoirs have a way of winning a reader’s friendship…Schaeffer is a good memoirist, smart and often laugh-out-loud funny…Frank seems to have been born irreverent, but his memoirs have a serious purpose, and that is to expose the insanity and the corruption of what has become a powerful and frightening force in American politics…Frank has been straightforward and entertaining in his campaign to right the political wrongs he regrets committing in the 1970s and ’80s…As someone who has made redemption his work, he has, in fact, shown amazing grace.” Roanoke Times, 7/10/11
“A thought-provoking analysis of the social and religious struggles that continue to define American consciousness…Schaeffer covers a lot of important territory in his book…He provides an insider’s view on the ways America has become fragmented, polarized by various forms of extremism.” In These Times, August 2011“An unusual mix—part memoir, part exegesis on Bible-based belief systems, and part prescription for a more compassionate, human-centered politics for both religious and theologically skeptical people. Humor, at times of the laugh-out-loud variety, is abundant. And while readers will likely bristle at some of Schaeffer’s conclusions, his wit, sass and insights make Sex, Mom, & God a valuable and entertaining look at U.S. fundamentalism.” San Francisco Book Review, 7/20/11
“This memoir/diatribe on organized religion is so shockingly bold and intimately revealing that it will spin your head around whiplash-quick, and cause you to double check to make sure you read the words correctly…Schaeffer comes to a jarring conclusion for fundamentalists, Roman Catholics, Jews, and Muslims alike, that if we don’t set aside our dogma and start making a serious effort at getting along, we will end up destroying ourselves and everything we thought we believed in.” Reference and Research Book News, August 2011
“Provid[es] a new, less prudish view of radical Christianity.” New York Times, 8/20/11“To millions of evangelical Christians, the Schaeffer name is royal, and Frank is the reluctant, wayward, traitorous prince.”
World, 8/27/11“Schaeffer can be witty and ironic and, like the stopped clock that is accurate twice a day, some of his observations hit their mark.” Bitch, October 2011
“Braids the rise of the religious right with Schaeffer’s development as an evangelist and antiabortion activist…Recommended for history, religion, or political buffs who enjoy a dash of tender reflection.”
Maclean’s magazine, 9/21 issue“Former evangelist Frank Schaeffer may have quit the business and turned his back on what he now calls ‘our dreadful, vengeful little God,’ but the man clearly still has a knack for sermon titles. And Sex, Mom, and God is nothing if not a righteous, furious, cringe-inducing and surprisingly nuanced sermon delivered in book form against Schaeffer’s heavenly demons…Schaeffer’s contention that most, if not all, of organized religion’s shortcomings stem from hang-ups over sex is nothing new. What’s compelling about Sex is Schaeffer himself, who bashes away at what he held dear for so long.” Santa Fe New Mexican, 11/25/11“[Schaeffer is] unafraid to tell it like it is.” Metapsychology Online Reviews, 2/11/12“Amusing and eyebrow-raising anecdotes…The reader is treated to a compelling and affectionate portrayal of [Scgaeffer’s] complex and conflicted mother…For a reader unfamiliar with the kind of Christianity Schaeffer describes, the book provides a helpful picture into the good and bad of living as a fundamentalist Evangelical…A first-hand account of one evangelical's unusual childhood and the life of a recovering fundamentalist.”
Politics & Patriotism (blog), 4/10
“An eye-opening exposé of American Right-wing socio-political history.” The NervousBreakdown.com, 5/20/12“Schaeffer paints a beautiful portrait of his mother…And while he may have a lot to say against the institutions of fundamentalist religion, he offers the reader an equally powerful alternative view of faith and hope.”
Springfield News-Leader, 8/22/12“Excellent resources for anyone interested in the strange history of the heretical anti-abortion doctrine being taught in American churches today for the purpose of garnering political support.”
Alternating between hilarious scenes from his childhood and acidic ruminations on the present state of an America he and his famous fundamentalist parents helped create, Frank Schaeffer asks what the Glenn Becks and the Rush Limbaughs and the Sarah Palins and the paranoid fantasies of the right-wing echo chamber are really all about.
Here's a hint: sex.
The central character in this strange-but true tale is a character indeed--the author's far-from-prudish evangelical mother, who sweetly but bizarrely provides startling juxtapositions of the religious and the sensual throughout young Schaeffer's childhood. As the author notes: Hang out with the Schaeffer clan for a bit and discover why the religious right is mired in perpetual sexual dysfunction and weirdness that creates a self-loathing culture ready to lash out at the rest of us. And when they lash out, they do it all in the name of Jesus. Go figure.
From bestselling author Frank Schaeffer, a new laugh-out-loud take on his years growing up evangelical, focusing on the unforgettable figure of his mother.
Smart and often laugh-out-loud funny.”Jane Smiley, Washington Post
With hilarious scenes from his childhood alternating with acidic ruminations on the present state of an America he and his famous fundamentalist parents helped create, Frank Schaeffer asks what the Glenn Becks and the Sarah Palins are really all about.
Heres a hint: sex.
The central character in this startlingly honest” (Booklist) memoir is the authors far-from-prudish evangelical mother, who sweetly but bizarrely provides startling juxtapositions of the religious and the sensual throughout young Franks childhood. To quote Max Blumenthal, the author of Republican Gomorrah: Few writers command Frank Schaeffers intimate understanding of right-wing radicalism, and even fewer are able to share their insight as entertainingly and with as much moral weight.”
About the Author
Frank Schaeffer is the author of the New York Times bestseller Keeping Faith and the memoir Crazy for God. His novels, including Portofino, have been translated into nine languages. He and his wife, Genie, live in Massachusetts and have three children.