Jac Reviews Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome

by Jac on September 5, 2015

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Jac Reviews Post-Traumatic Church SyndromePost-Traumatic Church Syndrome by Reba Riley
Published by Howard Books on 2015-08-18
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Christian Life, Personal Memoirs, Religion, Religious, Spiritual Growth
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley
An important inspirational debut, Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome is much more than a memoir about reclaiming faith and overcoming chronic illness. Written with humor and personality, it tackles the universal struggle to heal what life has broken. This is a book for questioners, doubters, misfits, and seekers of all faiths; for the spiritual, the religious, and the curious.Reba Riley’s twenty-ninth year was a terrible time to undertake a spiritual quest. But when untreatable chronic illness forced her to her metaphorical (and physical) derriere on her birthday, Reba realized that even if she couldn’t fix her body, she might be able to heal her injured spirit. And so began a yearlong journey to recover from her whopping case of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome by visiting thirty religions before her thirtieth birthday. During her spiritual sojourn, Reba: -Was interrogate by Amish grandmothers about her sex life -Danced the disco in a Buddhist temple -Went to church in virtual reality, a movie theater, a drive-in bar, and a basement -Fasted for thirty days without food—or wine -Washed her lady parts in a mosque bathroom -Was audited by Scientologists -Learned to meditate with an urban monk, sucked mud in a sweat lodge with a suburban shaman, and snuck into Yom Kippur with a fake grandpa in tow -Discovered she didn’t have to choose religion to choose God—or good For anyone who has ever longed for transformation of body, mind, or soul, but didn’t know where to start, Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome reminds us that sometimes we have to get lost to get found.

I’m not really sure what I expected when I picked up Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome, but I am sure glad I grabbed this one.

I could easily relate to Reba. I grew up in church, but then spent a good chunk of time disinterested. (We had different reasons, and her upbringing was much more strict than mine, but none the less? I could definitely relate.) So I was intrigued by her challenge to experience 30 religions/faiths before she turned 30.

I have to say, there are definitely some laugh out loud moments in this one! And moments where you sympathize with Reba – who has an undiagnosed illness that she is dealing with as she undertook this experiment.

Now I feel like I have to disclose this. I was somewhat skeptical as I started reading this book. I read “Eat Pray Love” back when it was all the rage, and I hated it. I tend to hate books written BECAUSE the author has a book deal. Something about them feels hokey and you’re constantly reminded that this book was written with a book deal in mind. It just feels less-than-genuine. Luckily? Post Traumatic Church Syndrome does NOT have that same feel!

I loved this journey, and found myself reminded of my own journey. I loved that Reba wasn’t anti-church, and in fact as she experienced some vastly different paths, she realized that Christian was the way she was personally leaning – but it felt like she gave each experience her full attention; at least as much as possible!

I’m not sure who I’d recommend this one too. I know many of my religious friends would find parts frustrating. And my non-faith friends would be bored to tears. But there is a definite section of the community (like myself) who will love this one!


I'm a homeschooling hockey mom from southern Colorado! I spend my free time blogging and reading (when I'm not at the ice arena or hiking in the Rockies!) and I have a crazy addiction to water bottles!

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