cover image This Is My Body: A Memoir of Religious and Romantic Obsession

This Is My Body: A Memoir of Religious and Romantic Obsession

Cameron Dezen Hammon. Lookout, $17.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-940596-32-7

Houston musician Hammon’s engrossing debut reveals the underside of “born again” evangelicalism on the southern megachurch music circuit. Born in New York City, Hammon was raised Jewish and, while writing “post-grunge folk-pop,” which she performed at “coffeehouses and small clubs” in Lower Manhattan, she embraced the Christian community of Tribe house church and was baptized at age 26. When she decides to move to Houston with her long-distance boyfriend, she finds work as a “worship leader” who sings and leads prayers. Barely making a living in a job she describes as a cross between worship and a “Christian game show,” Hammon is trapped in the world of tenant-worker evangelicalism. To make ends meet, she must endure the loss of agency and sexual harassment and contend with an unhappy marriage: it was a “study in paradox. I should look young, but not too young. I should look pretty, but not too pretty.” 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. (Oct.)