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Born in 1952, Frank Schaeffer is a writer and film director whose parents were missionaries, who has lived in Switzerland and has holidayed on the Italian Riviera. He now lives in Massachusetts. Portofino was his first novel.
We were first introduced to the young Calvin Becker on holiday in Italy in Portofino where lust and longing clashed with his religious upbringing in one of the most delightful novels Iâd read for a long time. Iâve had to wait eight years for the boy to reappear only a couple of years older and on holiday again. His family seem more zealously religious than ever and Calvin, bless him, more lusty, but still innocent at 14. Donât read this if you are a little pious as the church does come in for a bit of a bashing but do read it if you want a perfect gem of a rites-of-passage comedy. I truly loved it.Comparison: John Harding, Nick Hornby, David Nicholls.Similar this month: Matt Beaumont, Jim Keeble.
Calvin Becker's strict fundamentalist upbringing means he's never seen a film, watched television or danced. He even has to hide his five second-hand copies of Mad magazine in the attic. Now he and his family - his embarrassingly devout missionary parents and his sisters, the tyrannical 18 year-old Janet and the angelic Rachael - are on their modest annual skiing holiday in Switzerland. For the Beckers, the Hotel Riffelberg had always provided a safe haven from the jazz-loving sinners who congregate further down the mountain in Zermatt, but this is 1966, the year of peace, love and the Beatles, and the world is changing. As is the irrepressible Calvin... In his innocent 14 year-old body the hormones are raging, awakening a volcanic sexual curiosity and he willingly succumbs to the ample charms of Eva, the young waitress who introduces him to ecstasies beyond his wildest dreams. But then Calvin's mother catches him supposedly in the act and things start to go awry, triggering a climactic end to his childhood (and the family holiday).
';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 ofRepublican 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 all about. 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 Hefnerit's all here. This is the kind of book I did not want to end.'
Frank Schaeffer has a problem with the New Atheists. He also has a problem with the religious fundamentalists. The problem is that he doesn't see much of a difference between the two camps. Sparing no one and nothing, including himself and his fiery evangelical past, and invoking subtleties too easily ignored by the pontificators, Schaeffer adds much-needed nuance to the existing religious conversation as he challenges atheists and fundamentalists alike.
Frank Schaeffer has a problem with Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, and the rest of the New Atheiststhe self-anointed Brights. He also has a problem with the Rick Warrens and Tim LaHayes of the world. The problem is that he doesnt see much of a difference between the two camps. As Schaeffer puts it, they often share the same fallacy: truth claims that reek of false certainties. I believe that there is an alternative that actually matches the way life is lived rather than how we usually talk about belief.Sparing no one and nothing, including himself and his fiery evangelical past, and invoking subtleties too easily ignored by the pontificators, Schaeffer adds much-needed nuance to the conversation. My writing has smoked out so many individuals who seem to be thinking about the same questions. I hope that this book will provide a meeting place for us, the scattered refugees of what Ill call The Church of Hopeful Uncertainty.
Calvin is the son of a missionary family, and their trip to Portofino is the highlight of his year. But even in the seductive Italian summer, the Beckers can't really relax. Calvin's father could slip into a Bad Mood and start hurling potted plants at any time. His mother has an embarrassing habit of trying to convert "e;pagans"e; on the beach. And his sister Janet has a ski sweater and a miniature Bible in her luggage, just in case the Russians invade and send them to Siberia. His dad says everything is part of God's plan. But this summer, Calvin has some plans of his own ... Portofino is the prequel to the noted trilogy that includes Zermatt. A huge bestseller, Portofino has been translated into seven languages.
By the time he was nineteen, Frank Schaeffers parents, Francis and Edith Schaeffer, had achieved global fame as bestselling evangelical authors and speakers, and Frank had joined his father on the evangelical circuit. He would go on to speak before thousands in arenas around America, publish his own evangelical bestseller, and work with such figures as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Dr. James Dobson. But all the while Schaeffer felt increasingly alienated, precipitating a crisis of faith that would ultimately lead to his departureeven if it meant losing everything.With honesty, empathy, and humor, Schaeffer delivers a brave and important book (Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog)both a fascinating insiders look at the American evangelical movement and a deeply affecting personal odyssey of faith.
By the time he was nineteen, Frank Schaeffer's parents, Francis and Edith Schaeffer, had achieved global fame as bestselling evangelical authors and speakers, and Frank had joined his father on the evangelical circuit. He would go on to speak before thousands in arenas around America, publish his own evangelical bestseller, and work with such figures as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Dr. James Dobson. But all the while Schaeffer felt increasingly alienated, precipitating a crisis of faith that would ultimately lead to his departure,even if it meant losing everything. With honesty, empathy, and humour, Schaeffer delivers a brave and important book (Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog ),both a fascinating insider's look at the American evangelical movement and a deeply affecting personal odyssey of faith.
In this sequel to his acclaimed novel Portofino, Frank Schaeffer's memorable young narrator, Calvin Becker, returns in a story that is a coming-of-age gem. It is 1966, and Calvin is fourteen, torn between his naturally volcanic sexual curiosity and a fundamentalist family so strict that he has never seen a movie, watched television, or danced-and has to hide his five copies of Mad magazine in the attic. Ralph and Elsa Becker, Reformed Presbyterian missionaries from Kansas, are stationed in Switzerland and on a modest ski vacation with their three children: tyrannical eighteen-year-old Janet, angelic Rachael, and the irrepressible Calvin. But at the Hotel Riffelberg, a supposed safe haven from the sinners listening to jazz far below in Zermatt, Calvin nevertheless falls into the hands of Eva, a young waitress who, while bringing him breakfast each morning, begins Calvin's initiation. Even so, it is only after his mother catches him in the act (or so she thinks) that Calvin's real education begins. The resulting family meltdown builds to a climax destined to push Calvin's childhood into the past.
In 1998, Frank Schaeffer was a bohemian novelist living in Volvo driving, higher-education worshipping Massachusetts with two children graduated from top universities. Then his youngest child, straight out of high school, joined the United States Marine Corps. Written in alternating voices by eighteen-year-old John and his father, Frank, Keeping Faith takes readers in riveting fashion through a family's experience of the Marine Corps: from being broken down and built back up on Parris Island (and being the parent of a child undergoing that experience), to the growth of both father and son and their separate reevaluations of what it means to serve. From Frank's realization that among his fellow soccer dads the very words'boot camp' were pejorative, conjuring up'troubled youths at risk' ( 'But aren't they all terribly southern?' asked one parent ) to John's learning that the Marine next to you is more important than you are, Keeping Faith , a New York Times bestseller , is a fascinating and personal examination of issues of class, duty, and patriotism. The fact that John is currently serving in the Middle East only adds to the impact of this wonderfully written, timely, and moving human interest story.