Zermatt

Zermatt Calvin Becker is back in a timeless story about the volcanic sexual curiosity of a fourteen year old boy born into a fundamentalist family so strict that he has never seen a movie watched television

  • Title: Zermatt
  • Author: Frank Schaeffer
  • ISBN: 9780786714605
  • Page: 372
  • Format: Paperback
  • Calvin Becker is back in a timeless story about the volcanic sexual curiosity of a fourteen year old boy born into a fundamentalist family so strict that he has never seen a movie, watched television, or danced and has to hide his five copies of Mad magazine in the attic It is 1966, and Ralph and Elsa Becker, Reformed Presbyterian missionaries from Kansas, are stationedCalvin Becker is back in a timeless story about the volcanic sexual curiosity of a fourteen year old boy born into a fundamentalist family so strict that he has never seen a movie, watched television, or danced and has to hide his five copies of Mad magazine in the attic It is 1966, and Ralph and Elsa Becker, Reformed Presbyterian missionaries from Kansas, are stationed in Switzerland, and on a modest ski vacation with their three children tyrannical eighteen year old Janet, angelic Rachael, and our narrator, the irrepressible Calvin, who puzzles over his sisters bras, as they hang on a line hidden away so that I could not get a good look unless I ducked under the sheets to the feminine heart of the laundry maze But at the Hotel Riffelberg, high above Zermatt, Calvin falls into the hands of a waitress who, while bringing him his breakfast each morning, serially initiates him into ecstasies he can barely comprehend The resulting family crisis triggers a larger crisis of faith in his fundamentalist father, leading to a climax, which rips Calvin out of his childhood With echoes of Irving and Roth and its own uniquely human voice, Zermatt is a coming of age gem.

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      Published :2018-04-16T04:07:03+00:00

    1 thought on “Zermatt”

    1. When the Calvinist missionary Becker family goes on a ski vacation, the hotel waitress/barmaid attempts to seduce 14-year-old Calvin--so he thinks it's the Best! Vacation! Ever! until he is nearly caught. Despite his, hm, partial cover-up, the incident puts stress on his parents' marriage. As a result his father has a sort of nervous breakdown and starts acting like a nearly-normal person, the waitress accepts Jesus as her personal savior, and Calvin must do some unlikely truth-telling to save h [...]

    2. I loved this book. I read it before I realized it was book number 2 of 3, but it worked well on its own as well. If you grew up in a Fundamentalist Christian church or family, you will definitely relate to the little boy in this story. I found myself audibly laughing as I read. The story centers around Calvin as he explores his emerging desires and interest in the opposite sex, while struggling with the stifling faith his family believes is their personal mission to share with the world. Great r [...]

    3. Where Portofino was funny, Zermatt was just plain scary. A real cautionary tale about the mental illness inherent in fundamentalist religious practices.

    4. At the time I read Zermatt I was deep in the thrall of Frank Schaeffer's writing. I very much enjoyed this book and, well, now I have some reservations. Not enough to withhold my recommendation butMOST IMPORTANT:Zermatt is fiction. Yes all of the Calvin Trilogy draws heavily on the real childhood of author Frank Schaeffer, but it is FICTION. The best way to read the trilogy is to pretend you never heard of the writer and know nothing about his personal life. Schaeffer's technique is to place his [...]

    5. Zermatt is the second installment in the coming of age trilogy of young Calvin Becker. Like its predecessor, Portofino, its title comes from the location where Calvin's family of Fundamentalist missionaries vacation, and these titles telegraph vital information about content. Portofino was a charming, sun drenched novel that followed Calvin and his peculiar family on their summer vacation in Italy. Zermatt is a far darker novel which takes place in the ominous shadow of the Matterhorn during a w [...]

    6. Whoo, it's hard to recommend this one as it's told through the unflinchingly honest perspective of a 14 yr old who is currently in the violent throes of puberty and sexuality. So it's awkward to say the least. I read it based on recommendation of a friend and thinking he'd have a similar perspective as his father Francis Schaeffer, a brilliant mind and personal hero. Turns out, he doesn't. As it chronicles young Calvin's life, Schaeffer starts to feel like he's exaggerating his autobiography. If [...]

    7. If Portofino was G-rated, this was definitely PG. Calvin's relationship with the maid was funnily described if surprisingly vivid. Too, this book went deeper into the religiosity of the parents, and the pathology of their particular (made-up) brand of religious zealotry and how that plays out in their marriage and parenting. Given those deepening plot-lines, I am intrigued to see where Saving Grandma goes.

    8. The story of an extremely fundamental missionary family on one of their traditional family vacations is like reading about a train wreck - you can't look away! I was disappointed in the ending but its probably more truthful then my fairy tale version would have been. It's a sad commentary on how religion can cloud and distort the Biblical teachings of Christ that salvation comes from faith and not the from the pitiful attempts we make to be 'good.'

    9. A good read, but the ending was weak. I felt the characters weren't cohesive to the end. To me, the mother basically changed personalities toward the end of the book. Also there was some raw sex stuff that was a bit much for me. It wasn't horrible stuff, just not realistic. But then again, who am I? Maybe that kind of sex happens all the time and I'm the only one not privy to it. :-)

    10. The sequel to Portofino, it had a weak ending and seemed to go now where after the middle of the book. Still, as someone who was raised in a fundamentalist family, the language is a too familiar. I empathized with Calvin, all the lying and pretending, just to lead a normal life.

    11. Sex, sin and salvation all contribute to the pubescent awakening of our young narrator, Calvin Becker, on the ski slopes of Zermatt. A sometimes fun, sometimes sad look at this vacationing fundamentalist missionary family, last seen in 'Portofino', the first of this rather entertaining trilogy.

    12. Laugh out loud funny in parts, too tragic for words in others I have no idea how Frank Schaeffer turned out sane, because his family was anything but. If you grew up in a Fundamentalist household, you'll recognize an awful lot in this story.

    13. I loved this book, set in surroundings that are so familiar to me. There were places that I laughed out loud and others where I despaired for these people up at the Riffelhaus at night, in total isolation from the merry village 1,000 metres below them.

    14. This was okay. It was fun to revisit Calvin and his family, but it is not the masterpiece that Portofino is.

    15. The last in the Calvin Becker trilogy - really a funny series. Great characters and a hilarious commentary on born-again Christians.

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