God in My Head by Josh Grisetti is an honest and occasionally irreverent look at religion and the existence of God.
There has been a growing market for “spiritual tourism” books in recent years, particularly as religion once again comes to the forefront of our political and cultural attention. God in My Head, an unexpectedly poignant memoir from Josh Grisetti, doesn’t follow the traditional pattern. Rather than buttressing and confirming what many people already believe about religion and the existence of God, Grisetti recounts his bizarre story with a number of controversial elements, a fair bit of humor, and the sort of “straight talk” rarely seen in religious literature.
Raised as a Bible-thumping Southern Baptist, the author gradually began leaning towards agnosticism and questioning much of what he’d been raised to accept as the “gospel” truth. His intense fear of dentists and dental procedures led him to take a drug-fueled ride during a visit to the dentist that brought him to an altered level of consciousness – one in which he met the Almighty. What proceeds in the novel is an incredible depiction of his nearly two centuries spent with the Creator of the Universe. At times, the story is intentionally humorous, and at others, Josh becomes quite serious and the questions he poses are thought-provoking and insightful.
While the premise itself will be difficult to swallow for many readers – particularly those that are agnostics or atheists – this book is not directed purely towards full-on believers. If anything, the book is Grisetti’s testimony to the flexible nature of faith. He doesn’t attempt to force a belief system on readers, nor does he try to convince readers that what happened to him is proof of anything. The most appealing thing about this book is the narrative aspect – open-ended, non-presumptive, funny, and relatable. Many people go through periods where they re-analyze their faith, lose it entirely, find new meanings for it, and everything in between.
Josh Grisetti is honest about his path in life, his reservations with religion, and his new approach following his miraculous time with God during a pharmaceutical cocktail coma. Fortunately, he approaches the entire experience with a pen akin to Hunter S. Thompson and an ability to write about a drug experience in a very enjoyable way. There is no judgment about his choices, and while the book’s disclaimer warns others not to mix a handful of Xanax, benzodiazepines, and laughing gas, there is a certain thrill to the premise itself. A regular guy with a lifetime’s worth of questions about existence gets high and meets God, and then brings back a wealth of rather intriguing new theories about everything from the Garden of Eden and Angels to the Devil and the morality of self-defense.
While this is certainly a narrative story, by the middle it begins to read more like a moral guidebook and a broad commentary on currently established religions. The spiritual experience that Grisetti claims to have had provides an ideal platform for a new philosophy regarding the tenets of religion. This makes it hard not to consider the possibility that hallucinatory drugs, suppressed feelings, subconscious thoughts, and a desire for the “truth” helped the author spin this story to life.
It is worth noting that the author encourages every reader to take his words, recollections, and conclusions with a grain (or a pillar) of salt. This well-penned memoir, regardless of your beliefs, is a refreshing contribution to the “meeting God” genre, and will inspire personal reflections on important aspects of existence that lie far within and outside the realm of religion.