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Unless you are open to the possibility of spirits and energy healing, Walking Through Walls might be a little too bizarre for Main Street. Fortunately, my Chinese background (think Joy Luck Club) with its various ancestral spirits opens me to the possibility of phenomenon that science cannot explain.
My usually genre for reading material are personal finance, health/fitness, science fiction, and historical fiction. Rarely do I pick up a memoir, but I was intrigued with the idea of a psychic healer. Walking Through Walls is Philip Smith’s memoir on growing up with a father (Lews Smith) who was an all-knowing psychic healer.
What I like about Walking Through Walls
The events leading up to Lews Smith conversion from interior decorator to psychic healer almost feel like a fiction novel. Being a health blogger, I find the author’s descriptions of his parents’ comments about the medical community and diet to be most interesting. It seems like we are still dealing with the same issues regarding health and medicine 40 years later. His mom thought doctors were “gods” while his father thought they were the “devils.”
For example, in a shouting match between his parents, his father stated that “You know what your wonderful doctors do? They give you some pills that make you sicker than when you walked in the door. Then they give you more pills to counteract the first pills, and when those don’t work, they start shooting you full of things like cortisone that rot your insides, and then you die.” Sometimes it does seem that way since a prescription is the first thing a doctor give you before making any other recommendation.
At first glance you might think that the diet between his parents are totally different, but when you take a closer look, it is the same – starvation seems to be the common denominator here.
For Philip’s mom, “her favorite meal [is] a fresh pack of Camel cigarettes and a pint of … bright green pistachio ice cream.” Is this extreme dieting or what?
“Every few days Pop embarked on yet another obscure-sounding fast that was meant to purify a specific organ or internal system.” Though Philip’s dad is eating brown rice before I was born, I am not sure I understand the whole voluntary fasting idea to purify the body. It smacks too close to people starving themselves for weight loss for my comfort.
The confrontations Lews Smith has with medical doctors are hilarious and disturbing. Hilarious because I wish I have the knowledge to grill doctors the way he does. But disturbing because of how easily the medical community brushed off his diagnosis and did unnecessary surgeries because it is “standard procedure” and the cover up for the original misdiagnosis.
What I do not like about Walking Through Walls
After Lews Smith convert to psychic healer, things became really off the wall. Not the talking to spirits part (I am used to that), but his ability to pinpoint illness without the use of an x-ray or any other medical test. I would be the first to agree that not everything that ails you will show up in a medical test or scan, but to have the level of accuracy and successful rate within 5 minutes and even over the phone as mentioned in the book is all bit too much fictional for me to believe. Lews Smith is able to diagnose and heal someone faster than a House episode. The healings become more and more unbelievable as the book progress.
Walking Through Walls is not a sweet, fuzzy sunshine memoir of a happy childhood and youth. There are some scenes that scream of child neglect and acting out to get his parents’ attention even when Philip is trying really hard to escape this family life through drugs, sex, and disappearing into other countries.
Much of the memoir happened during Philip’s youth. I am not sure how much of his memories are factual. Since his father was such a big influence on his life, I am not sure how much of his father’s healing and all-knowing powers are exaggerated in the book. The author clearly said that “What I really wanted was a father who mowed the lawn, drank beer, and fell asleep in front of the TV. But that’s not the father I had. Instead I had Clark Kent, who at a moment’s notice turned into Superman.” If that is not a clear case of hero worship, I am not sure what is.
After all, I have many holes in my memories of my childhood and when I asked my parents, they give me something completely different. And in my memories, my parents of my youth always know how to handle every crisis, but the parents I have now seem to handle crisis every poorly in my adult eyes.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
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