MY FUNDAMENTALIST EDUCATION by Christine Rosen

MY FUNDAMENTALIST EDUCATION

A Memoir of a Divine Girlhood
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Memories of a childhood spent in a Christian classroom in 1970s Florida.

The author's parents weren't the world's most devout couple, but when it came time to send their girls to school, they settled on the Keswick Christian School rather than the local public school, which was in a notoriously dodgy neighborhood. Thus was Rosen (Preaching Eugenics, 2004, etc.) introduced to the intensely Bible-centric world of Christian education. In some ways, Bible stories were instantly understandable; the ten plagues (frogs, lice, flies, etc.), for example, were almost all experienced in some way or other in her hometown of St. Petersburg. In kindergarten, class time was devoted to memorizing Bible verses; by second grade, the students were ready for a “Walk Thru the Bible” seminar, in which every major biblical event was recited. The author, though affectionate towards her alma mater, is also clearly amused by a certain earnest wackiness that suffused the school, exemplified by an “odd mix of Bible lesson and performance art.” The same attitude, tinged with a bit of sorrow or confusion, is extended to Rosen's mother. The author's parents divorced early in her childhood, Rosen and her sister both staying with their father (and, eventually, a loving stepmother), while their mother began making the rounds of a series of different jobs and churches, favoring those that focused on faith healing and speaking in tongues—practices frowned upon by the more conservative Keswick school community. Rosen remained at Keswick through eighth grade, but when the school banned students from patronizing the 7-11 because it sold pornography, Rosen’s parents began to realize how widely their philosophy differed from that of Keswick; the author's fundamentalist education ended after middle school.

A warm, surprisingly entertaining glimpse of fundamentalism through a child's eyes.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-58648-258-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2005




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