Houston-based author Jessica Wilbanks celebrates the launch of her debut memoir, WHEN I SPOKE IN TONGUES, at Brazos Bookstore on Saturday, November 17 at 7 p.m.
According to a study published by the Pew Research Center in 2015, fewer and fewer people in the United States describe themselves as Christian. In fact, almost 25 percent of adults who were raised Christian no longer identify with that religion, and former Christians make up almost one fifth–43 million people–of U.S. adults. Many former believers, particularly those raised within a fundamentalist faith, struggle to make sense of a world no longer structured by a belief in God.
In her debut memoir, When I Spoke in Tongues: A Story of Faith and Its Loss, Pushcart Prize-winning writer Jessica Wilbanks puts a human face on these statistics, describing how profoundly her life was altered when she renounced God and found that her relationship with her devout Pentecostal family was forever changed. “Scholars of bereavement,” writes Wilbanks, “talk about the damage that results from the loss of the ‘assumptive world’—the internal framework we use to make sense of our experiences. For me, it wasn’t the death of a loved one that rocked me to my foundations, but rather the loss of my faith.”
In a starred review, Publisher's Weekly called the book "captivating," saying Jessica's "deconstruction of her family-given religiosity is an evocative inversion of the average spiritual journey."
Bust magazine wrote, "“This compelling debut is shaped like a search for a long-lost friend, or an examination of a love affair that left the author forever changed.... Wilbanks weaves a fiercely candid account of reconciling with a faith whose tenets seem set in stone.” [Organizer's description]