Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Review: Girl at the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther

ISBN: 0307731871
Published: March 18th, 2014
Publisher: Convergent Books
Read from April 1st to 13th, 2014
Synopsis from publisher:
I was raised in a homegrown, fundamentalist Christian group—which is just a shorthand way of saying I’m classically trained in apocalyptic stockpiling, street preaching, and the King James Version of the Bible. I know hundreds of obscure nineteenth-century hymns by heart and have such razor sharp “modesty vision” that I can spot a miniskirt a mile away.
Verily, verily I say unto thee, none of these highly specialized skills ever got me a job, but at least I’m all set for the end of the world. Selah.
A story of mind control, the Apocalypse, and modest attire.
Elizabeth Esther grew up in love with Jesus but in fear of daily spankings (to “break her will”). Trained in her family-run church to confess sins real and imagined, she knew her parents loved her and God probably hated her. Not until she was grown and married did she find the courage to attempt the unthinkable. To leave.
In her memoir, readers will recognize questions every believer faces: When is spiritual zeal a gift, and when is it a trap? What happens when a pastor holds unchecked sway over his followers? And how can we leave behind the harm inflicted in the name of God without losing God in the process?
By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Girl at the End of the World is a story of the lingering effects of spiritual abuse and the growing hope that God can still be good when His people fail.
Includes reading group discussion guide and interview with the author


Girl at the End of the World's synopsis caught my eye, and I was intrigued. However, I wasn't expecting to become as enthralled by the book as I did. Girl at the End of the World is the story of the author's experiences growing up in a Fundamentalist Christian cult. I'm not going to lie, the cult part was what caught my eye. I don't have personal experiences with cults, but the cult mentality is something that I find both fascinating and horrifying.

Fascinating and horrifying is a good way to describe Esther Earl's story. Her memoir connected with me emotionally, and even though I've never had any of her experiences, I felt myself sympathizing with her. The author dealt with far more than she should ever have had to in her life, and it was hard to read but also extremely eye-opening. I was rooting for Esther the whole time, and even though I knew before beginning that she did eventually escape the cult, I still found myself on the edge of my seat throughout the book.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. The book is written very engagingly, and it would have held my attention easily, even if the subject matter weren't so gripping. I think everyone could get something out of this book. It's a hard story to read at times, but I don't regret reading it a bit. It's hard to put into words how this book made me feel, but I can say that it is one of the best books I've read in a while. It's one of those books that I want to share with everyone I know. Elizabeth Esther's story is one that I am incredibly glad was told.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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