203 x 137 mm PBK
978 0 9551264 6 8
When Matthew's left leg continued to crumple underneath him over a period of weeks, his parents called their Christian Science practitioner for 'metaphysical treatment'—a type of argumentative prayer that, according to church dictates, could not be combined with medical diagnosis. Fifteen-month-old
Matthew became violently ill, but a series of practitioners claimed their treatments were working and the healing would be evident when his parents overcame
their own fears. In this unflinching memoir, Rita Swan describes this struggle from a mother's viewpoint. Told largely through dialogue and eschewing arid
sentimentality, The Last Strawberry lays bare the inexplicable.
This memoir was written in 1979 but remained unpublished until late 2009, when a shorter version of it appeared in The Dublin Review. Here we have the author's extended version, complete with a 'Note from the Father' and an afterword.
Please note that the signed and numbered limited edition is out of print: this edition is the same dimensions but does not have hand-printed covers. It can be signed by the author upon request.
Rita Swan and her husband, Doug, founded the organisation Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD, www.childrenshealthcare.org) in 1983, which works to stop child abuse and neglect related to religious, cultural, or secular belief systems. Working in coalition with other organisations, CHILD has won improvements in the child-protection laws of more than a dozen states. Rita Swan has testified before legislative committees in fourteen states, spoken at many professional conferences, and published articles in scholarly journals, reference works, and newspapers.
‘A riveting memoir.’
—Caroline Walsh, The Irish Times
‘Eloquent, harrowing, unsparingly honest, The Last Strawberry is the ultimate Christian Science 'testimony', the last word on this cold, dwindling American delusion. Readers will take courage from Rita Swan, who faced the most devastating loss, learned its hard lessons, and turned to helping others escape the clutches of magical thinking.’
—Caroline Fraser, author of God's Perfect Child and Rewilding the World