Wednesday, November 14, 2018

When I Spoke in Tongues by Jessica Wilbanks

I found this to be a very interesting memoir of one who had embraced Pentecostal faith as a child and let go of it later in life. Though Wilbanks describes herself as one who no longer believes, she is generally respectful of those who do believe.

The part of the book I appreciated the most was her experience in Nigeria. She had come across the Redeemed Church in east Texas. Its origins were in Nigeria so she managed to do research there for her thesis. I really liked her information about Christianity in southern Nigeria. I learned a great deal, such as about Helen Ukpabio and supposed children witches. Another part of her book quite informative was her investigation into the history of Pentecostalism in America.

I recommend this book to readers who would like to know what it was like to grow up in a Pentecostal home and then experience the struggle of giving up that faith. She takes us through her childhood, her later years as a questioning college student, and finally finding her own place. Wilbanks writes very well and the book is easy to read.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Jessica Wilbanks is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize as well as creative nonfiction awards from Ninth Letter, Sycamore Review, Redivider, and Ruminate magazine. In 2014, she was selected as a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Journalism. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Houston, where she served as nonfiction editor for Gulf Coast. She lives in Houston with her husband and their son.

Beacon Press, 272 pages.

I received a complimentary egally of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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