The opening chapter holds in growing tension the threads we will follow as This Is My Body unfurls with a narrative propulsion that is sustained throughout ... Wandering through...contemporary wilderness, Hammon displays a knack for memorable scenes and wry observations ... [The] misogyny—in churches that allow women to 'speak' but not 'preach'—should not come as a surprise to readers, but the particularities of Hammon’s experience bring the effect of these slights, big and small, to life ... Though This Is My Body is described as a spiritual memoir, the heart of Hammon’s searching often centers around faith’s container—whether it comes in the form of a synagogue, a church, or a group therapy session. As a preacher’s kid, I empathized with Hammon’s sense of being chronically out of place; too God-haunted for secular circles and too skeptical for any church she tries to make her home. But sometimes I wondered whether Hammon might be searching for a perfect fit in inherently—and often deeply—flawed spaces ... It is this longing for participation, for membership that animates Hammon’s search for a faith community that will affirm her call to ministry—not despite her gender, her talents, and her flaws, but because of them.
With a rare combination of candor and grace, the author exposes some of Evangelicalism’s frailties without disparaging or dismissing those who are still believers, making her narrative accessible to a wide audience. Hammon wisely focuses on storytelling and lets readers take away what they will. She also details her romantic obsession with another man; though she takes full responsibility for it, she illustrates how patriarchal religious systems and/or disengaged husbands can, among other things, leave women feeling abandoned and secretly longing for extramarital intimacy. Hammon’s story will resonate strongly with anyone who’s become disillusioned with conservative Christianity, especially women who are 'trying to find a way to survive their unhappiness without dismantling their lives' ... A generous and unflinchingly brave memoir about faith, feminism, and freedom.
Jumping back and forth between New York and Houston, the gripping narrative explores the strife and renewal of Hammon’s multiple spiritual awakenings. A lifelong 'seeker,' Hammon constantly reconsiders her spiritual life until the book’s end. Hammon’s candid exploration of how megachurch worship culture objectifies women will stun and move both Christian and general readers alike.