Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome - Book Review

What is "post-traumatic church syndrome"? Aside from being a humorous title to Reba Riley's faith memoir, it's a term used to describe "a condition of spiritual injury that occurs as a result of religion, faith, and/or the leaving, losing, or breaking thereof."

If you feel like that's you, then you might like Riley's memoir, which chronicles her journey of experiencing 30 different religions before her 30th birthday in an attempt to come to terms with the "breaking" she experienced from the hardcore Christian religion of her family.

Riley really does go through a transformation over the course of this book, both spiritually and physically. In the beginning of the book, I was a little upset that it didn't seem like the author was giving enough of a chance to these religions she was trying. Of course, certain words and activities triggered bad memories for her, but in general, she was going into these churches with pre-conceived notions, and it was kind of getting on my nerves.

But there is a turning point, and Riley is soon really taking her experiment more seriously. (Interest from an NPR producer certainly couldn't have hurt either.) I was also glad she got the help she needed for her mysterious illness, which I totally predicted way earlier in the book. Her experience getting diagnosed (or misdiagnosed for years) is just par for the course for the disease she has. (I bet you can figure out what it is just from being a reader of this blog.)

There's a reading group guide in the back of the book if you choose to read this with a Bible study or book club.

Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome is published by Howard Books and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free ARC at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

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