Cameron Dezen Hammon’s memoir This Is My Body is about both her career as a musical worship leader and her relationship struggles. It is a moving, valuable look at the social structures of evangelical Christianity, the treatment of women artists, and the challenge of remaining present in a marriage.
Moving from tiny New York City communal collectives to a hip, youth-focused evangelical church in Houston and then to a megachurch with traditional, white, misogynistic, and anti-LGBTQ+ Baptist roots, Hammon describes finding Christianity as a young artist in a way that bursts with feeling. A national tragedy prompted her to grow closer to her band leader—the man who became her husband. Their marriage was disheartening and devoid of affection, though, and the work that once filled her heart started to grind her down.
Hammon describes finding flaws in her church and receiving steamy text messages from a man other than her husband. Stories from her career are fascinating and touching, and they expose infuriating sexism. In one telling scene, she and her husband travel halfway around the world with their new baby on a mission, only for a missionary who’s a man to interrupt Hammon’s fervent speech to tell her to go make some sandwiches. A later event gets more physical.
Though it works forward to Hammon’s changed understanding of her church, the book maintains real and glowing awe for God. Hammon’s is a compelling story, even if it sometimes feels airbrushed, as though its difficult topics have been worn smooth from telling and retelling.
This is My Body is a memoir by a women and an artist who was not supported enough, but whose story is conveyed with emotional honesty.
Meredith Grahl Counts
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