Do you know what I discovered this week? I did it—I’m an old fart, and I have had another baby! Actually, she arrived early (scheduled due date: May 20th). It was grueling, the gestation period was fifteen months, and I delivered her without medication—painful as a son of bitch, like a watermelon pushing through the entryway the size of a pea. But she’s here, and her name is Fleeing Oz.
(Kindle site to launch in 10 days)
I couldn’t be prouder of my new baby. Check out a couple of my first reviews:
“This book took guts to feel, to believe, and to put in print. It is raw beauty, love, emotion, pain, and healing all in one.”—A. Gaudreaux, Freelance Writer/Editor
“. . . Though I’ve never been invested in the Church personally, I found the overall story compelling for its insight into how subtly (and then quite drastically) well-intended initiatives and institutions can deteriorate and corrupt those within. But I think my favorite aspects of the book had to do with the author’s treatment of race, namely the problem of maintaining a strong racial (and feminine) identity in the face of a predominately white- (and male-) privileging dogma. In fact one of my favorite lines in the book came rather early in the narrative: ‘It is easy to be color-blind when the people of color within a group naïvely abandon their ethnic identity to fit in, easy to share everything when you don’t own anything, and easy to love when that love hasn’t been tested.’”—Virginia Garnett, PhD, author of “The Podium in Print: The popular lecture in American literary culture, 1865–1914.”
(Kindle sales to launch in 10 days)
But don’t just take my word about what my new baby looks like, check out her birth announcement by the “doctors and nurses” in the marketing department that helped bring her to life.
“When you look around and realize that the people filling the pews in your church represent traits you find reprehensible, you can do two things. You can keep your head down and become like them. Or you can follow author Eleanor L. Tomczyk’s example, reexamine everything you believe, and write a hilarious memoir about losing your religion.
“And that’s precisely what she does. Fleeing Oz chronicles Tomczyk’s journey from a wide-eyed, eager believer to a battered but not beaten refugee of the culture wars.
“From her early days as an African-American girl living on a cult like communal farm with a bunch of white kids, to her final escape from organized religion right before Barack Obama’s election in 2008, Tomczyk tells her story with grace. Far from cruel or mocking, Tomczyk resists the temptation to do unto others as they have done unto her, choosing instead to use humor where others might use hate.
“An edgy coming-of-age tale about a baby boomer who wants to follow God without getting crushed by God’s people in the process, Fleeing Oz will cause anyone who’s ever struggled with faith, doubt, and disillusionment to stand up and say ‘amen.’
“This hilarious, irreverent, and brutally honest book tells her story of faith, doubt, and disbelief—and how she walked away from church without turning her back on God.”
I am discovering that writing one’s sophomore book is harder than writing one’s debut book, and I suspect that it is even a lot harder than writing the subsequent manuscripts. Although Fleeing Oz was difficult to birth—mainly due to the unbelievable nature of some of the stories—it has arrived right on time because the media were awash yesterday with stories about Americans leaving the Christian churches in droves. All the commentators from Fox News to MSNBC have their theories as to why: boredom, too many drums—not enough drums, culture war exhaustion, and right-wing and left-wing politics. That may be some of the reasons, but I don’t think that they are all. I surmise that many Americans are trying to catch the same balloon ride out of Oz that I am on and for the same #1 reason: The modern day church is a poser (not all, but most). For the most part, the church of Christ no longer resembles the character of Christ. Check out Fleeing Oz to see what I’m talking about. Hope it makes you laugh, makes you cry, and most of all, makes you think.
Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune
LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? CHECK OUT www.eleanortomczyk.com
“’We’ve known that the religiously unaffiliated has been growing for decades,’ said Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director of religion research and the lead researcher on the new study. ‘But the pace at which they’ve continued to grow is really astounding.’”—Daniel Burke, Religion Writer, CNN.com
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