Mark Twain is a man who needs little introduction. One of the most revered authors and humorists in American history, his works have long been celebrated as some of the finest pieces of writing of the nineteenth century. While lesser known than many of his books, Christian Science finds Mark Twain at his best. The book is a satirical examination of the beliefs and practices of Christian Science and its founder Mary Baker Eddy.
The book begins with Twain telling the story of his fall off of a cliff in Vienna, Austria. As there is no medical doctor in town, his healing is overseen by a Christian Science practitioner, who treats him by attempting to convince him that the pain is only in his head. The opening of Christian Science is Twain at his most satirical, and is probably the highlight of the book. The latter parts of the book are composed of Twain's examination of the relatively new movement that was Christian Science. Twain takes particular umbrage with the founder of the religion, Mary Baker Eddy, who is portrayed as opportunistic and money hungry, making it clear that the author did not think highly of her.
Twain is surprisingly open minded to the beliefs of Christian Science. While the opening chapters make clear exactly the author's feelings towards the movement, Twain does give some credit to the concept of the mind as a healing tool. It is Mary Baker Eddy who is the butt of most of the author's trademark wit and humour. While the book is not the hysterical laugh-fest that some of the author's works are, there is enough humour sprinkled throughout to keep the casual reader entertained.
Christian Science stands up as an excellent example of Mark Twain's satire and humour. If you are at all a fan of the author's work, or if you are interested in a satirical take on the subject matter, you will likely find this to be an enjoyable read.