In this debut memoir, one man’s hallucination at the dentist’s office offers answers to mysteries regarding religion and the universe.
“I just met God,” Grisetti said to the dental hygienist as he woke up from a combination of laughing gas, vodka, Xanax, and marijuana. He’d combined the drugs to avoid the traumatic pain of getting fillings, but instead, he says, he found himself in a 200-year-long conversation with the creator of the universe. It was more than nitrous oxide–induced babbling or simple hallucination: Grisetti was so deeply affected by what he experienced that he writes the ordeal out in surprising detail for this memoir. The God that Grisetti met was far different from the one he knew as a Southern Baptist child. This God was hipper, genderless, and more amenable to the New Yorker author’s agnosticism, and patiently explained what religions have gotten all wrong—and what many of them still get right. They watched supernovas together, talked about the origin of the world, and discussed what Jesus Christ was really all about. “My father was going to rub this in my face for the rest of my life,” Grisetti writes. “I met God on an accidental drug trip and He told me that Jesus was real. Gross.” Grisetti approaches all the complicated topics with this same punchy snark in what he jokingly calls “The Gospel According to Nitrous Oxide.” But he’s also so meticulous and thorough in his recollection that it can’t be taken as a simple laughing matter. He says that his book is a response to Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent’s 2010 book Heaven Is for Real, and he creates a cynical, adult-oriented version of that conservative take on near-death experience. Fittingly, Grisetti’s God is more reminiscent of the alien in Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel Contact than of anything in contemporary Christian literature. The author’s own friends, he says, responded to the event in different ways: they were either deeply affected by it or they told him it was a “narcissistic waste of time.” Both reactions seem valid for the memoir, as well. But even readers who aren’t converted by this odd testimony will still be charmed by Grisetti’s humor and his conviction in telling such a strange, audacious story.
An often moving account that’s just as outlandish and funny as the author’s bizarre experience.