#76 ~ Trespassers will be Baptized

June 3, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Books, Childhood Memories, Family, LIfe, Memoir, Religion | 4 Comments
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Cover of Trespassers will be Baptized

Trespassers Will Be Baptized: The Unordained Memoir of a Preacher’s Daughter by Elizabeth Emerson Hancock

Trespassers will be Baptized tells the story of Elizabeth Emerson Hancock’s early childhood as the oldest daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher living in Kentucky. Miss Em was a precocious little girl who grew up certain that she knew exactly the way it was, only to find out that even her parents weren’t always so sure. It is her experiences coming to learn and understand how her parents, most especially her father, live within the spaces between their holy” (public) life and their “human” (private) life that make this memoir interesting and applicable to almost anyone who once was a child.

Although you should never judge the book by its cover, I really feel as though I got exactly what I was eagerly anticipating from the moment I first held the book in my hand. Hancock tells her story in a vivacious manner that pokes fun at her childhood notions and background while honoring it all at the same time. She sheds light on what it is like to grow up in a Southern Baptist home, but also provide insight on girls coming of age in the early to mid-1980s.

The stories she tells specific to her religious upbringing ring true, but so do her experiences as an oldest child. She brought back so many memories for me. I laughed as much at her story about fishing a pair of acid washed Guess jeans out of the Missions box for herself as I did about times when I used my advanced reasoning with my younger siblings to get them to go along with my schemes. Once I convinced myself that what I was setting out to do was okay, I could often easily recruit the rest to go along with me. The tricky part was working it so that they would get the blame if we were caught…

I very much enjoyed my time reading Trespassers will be Baptized. It was well paced and smoothly written. I reminded me of how much I enjoyed reading A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel. It’s nice to read about childhood experiences that weren’t traumatic or abusive. Living in a Southern Baptist area, I am happy now to know a little more about how my neighbors might have been brought up and some of the characters they might have encountered at church. Even still, despite doctrinal differences, growing up in an religious yet open home and regularly attending church is more alike than it is different. I would most definitely recommend this book.

To buy this book, click here.


#01 ~ A Girl Named Zippy

January 17, 2007 at 8:19 pm | Posted in Books, Memoir, Reading | 2 Comments
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A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana by Haven Kimmel

This is a memoir of Haven’s early childhood in a small Indiana town. I was originally interested in the book because of the silly looking baby on the cover. Turns out that silly looking baby was the author. She was born small and somewhat funny looking. She barely managed to fight a bout of sepsis in her ear as a young infant. She about died before a young doctor, with a box full of anti-biotic samples happened to reach in and select the only vial of anti-biotic that could have saved her. Although she herself does not believe in God, or at least the God of her mother’s faith, she is a living miracle.

Zippy, as Haven’s father called her, is quite a character. She’s a Calvin meets Pippy Longstocking for the Heartland. Her adventures cracked me up. At one point her much older sister informs her that she is adopted. Zippy runs to her mother for the truth. Her mother invents a story that she swapped a wonderful blanket for her from some gypsies. She not only bought the story, but she embraced her gypsy heritage. She had spunk and charisma. I would very much like my daughters to have some of those traits.

I enjoyed the glimpses she gave of family life in the late 60s and early 70s. Her parents were far different than mine and actually more like my own marriage and family. I will be the mother reading on the couch and taking the children to church (although not to a Quaker service I’m sure) while Danny will be the father full of adventure. The only personality swaps are that Danny would read the science fiction and I’d be more likely to smoke, drink, and gamble.

This book was enjoyable to read. Reading about a pleasant childhood is too rare of a commodity. What didn’t kill her only made Zippy more resilient. Who says a runt can’t win?


To buy this book, click here.

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