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The Benign Skeptic cover

  • eBook Edition
    • 978-1-03-916027-9
    • epub, pdf files
  • Paperback Edition
    • 978-1-03-916025-5
    • 5.5 x 8.5 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 426 pages
  • Hardcover Edition
    • 978-1-03-916026-2
    • 5.5 x 8.5 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 426 pages
  • Keywords
    • Family memoir,
    • healthy skepticism,
    • sibling relationships,
    • Christian upbringing,
    • higher education memoir,
    • linguistics career,
    • marriage and remarriage

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The Benign Skeptic
A Memoir
by Sharon Taylor

“Think before you believe.” Despite her strict Christian upbringing, skepticism was somehow in Sharon Taylor’s DNA. Perhaps it was a young girl’s innate sense of right and wrong that led her to root out bigots and perverts, question the hypocrisy in her church (and in her own mother’s blind faith), and combat poverty with street savvy. Or maybe it was curiosity and determination, combined with book smarts, that helped Taylor overcome the challenges in her tumultuous childhood, eventually attaining academic honors and a Ph.D. and embarking on an academic career—all while raising four children. The Benign Skeptic: A Memoir is a journey through the author’s long life from her birth at the start of World War II to present day, as the world still copes with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taylor’s candid storytelling starts by reeling the reader back in time, when the girl with the hated Shirley-Temple curls, born in Bend, Oregon, (to her parents “a mixed blessing”), was seemingly always trapped in a battle between her devout Baptist mother and atheist father, which eventually led to their divorce. This family breakdown set off a heartrending and often farcical chain of events with Taylor, her mother, and her paranoid and sometimes violent stepfather changing their identities for a short-lived life on the lam. As an adult, Taylor also overcomes a number of hurdles as a parent and wife, trying to find her way in the world and develop her own identity and values. The Benign Skeptic is a memoir about the complexity of family and romantic love, looking for the good in others, and recognizing that many things in life are more important than money. Along with history as seen through her eyes and nuggets of wisdom from a life well lived, Taylor offers her descendants (present and future) frank advice on everything from sex to control (and when to cede it) to the transformative powers of art and reading.

Sharon Taylor Ph.D. is the co-author of two linguistic textbooks: Introduction to Phonology and The Structure of English Words. Along with her enduring love for reading and writing, Taylor enjoys sculpting and gardening. She lives in a beautiful old house overlooking the Snake River in Lewiston, Idaho, with her husband, psychiatrist Bill (Doc) Grant and their sixteen-year-old dog, Austin.


Sharon Taylor

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