Saturday, April 5, 2014

Book Review: Girl At the End of the World

FTC disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.  This post does contain affiliate links.

Girl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future

Preaching to the crowds at nine years old was part of Elizabeth Esther's childhood.  As this book opens, that's where we find her, telling people they might die and face the judgment.  Added is the tip that if no one is paying attention shout the name of "The Lord Jesus Christ".  Already this book had me hooked.  After all, who wouldn't be curious about the life of a childhood street preacher?

The judgment may be at hand, so the church she grew up in made absolutely sure that everyone was ready for Revelation to be played out at any moment.  Setting up secret hiding places was normal.  As well as, in later years, learning how wearing a thong was a sin because God would see it.  After all, girls should be modest.  But hopefully by that time, the children would have had all the sin spanked out of them and they would be following what was taught.

Or not.  When Elizabeth Esther goes to high school, which is a public school after years in her church school, she discovers boys.  And defiles herself before marriage by doing the shameful act of kissing her secret boyfriend.  After all, dating isn't allowed, only courtship.  Even her clothes in sizes too big for modesty sake  doesn't keep the boys -- or friends -- away.  It is in high school she decides she wants to go to college -- to escape.  Of course, this idea doesn't fly with her dad, who as in most patriarchal systems, calls the shots for his household. 

She does escape, obviously, or she wouldn't have told the tale.  While I didn't grow up in a church this abusive, several things echoed true for me.   I remember thinking as a child I needed to find a hiding place to store a Bible because we were taught as small children at church that the Russians were coming and they were going to kill all Christians and destroy all Bibles, so that is why we needed to memorize Scripture.  (I didn't realize that if we were dead, it wouldn't have mattered how much we had memorized.)

This is an excellent book for those who have come out of any type of abusive church situation.  Learning to think for yourself after a situation like that is not just difficult, but frightening.  There's always the "What If They Are Right?" question stuck in the back of your brain wondering if you are the one who is wrong and not them.   It's also a fascinating read for anyone who wants to see what the insides of a cult are like.   It is a book that you can't put down.  It's a tale of survival, hope, and escape.  She learned to think for herself and no longer be brainwashed.

I loved Girl At The End of The World.

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1 comment:

  1. My sister does a lot of reading and like spiritual or romance book. I want to ask her about this one to see if this is one she may enjoy as well. Thanks for a great review