Tag Archives: Autobiography

I Am Malala, Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland, Cult Child

I bought the wrong edition of I Am Malala. I wanted to review it as a possible book for our homeschool coop’s middle school book club, but I didn’t get the young readers’ edition. Like everyone else in the world, I was really impressed with Malala’s passion for educational advocacy, and the bravery and strength of character she inherited from her father and mother. Malala Yousafzai was only 15 when she was shot point-blank in the head by the Taliban because she believed girls were…

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Elizabeth Smart, Scientology, Big Magic, Tearling

I have 18-20 books in my TBR pile right now and I want to read them all. Please remember me in your prayers, that my children would leave me alone so that I can READ! I have so much respect for Elizabeth Smart after reading My Story, her memoir of captivity and escape. Her faith in the midst of suffering is inspiring to me, and her commentary on the toxicity of purity culture eye-opening and brave. Leah Remini’s memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology wasn’t…

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Judy Blume! Kondo, Primates of Park Ave, Missoula, More True Crime and a Dumb Thriller I Read Anyway

I’ve been swimming in the cultural zeitgeist lately, thanks to my wonderful local library which just received much-needed funding to reopen on Saturdays. I was crazy excited to get my hands on Judy Blume’s newest book for adults, In the Unlikely Event, which is set in Elizabeth, NJ in the 1950s, against the backdrop of the actual triad of plane crashes that traumatized the community. Elizabeth is Blume’s hometown, and the book is based on her own emotional memories of living in the shadow of…

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Emma, Wild, Phantom Tollbooth, Under the Skin

I keep getting fed up with books and not finishing them. What is wrong with me? Two recent give-ups were The Buried Giant and The Book of Strange New Things. The former I dropped because it just go so boring, and the latter I dropped because the Christian missionary main characters didn’t ring true for me and my brain got tired from arguing with the book. I didn’t quite finish Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which was this month’s pick for book club. I meant to…

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Girl at the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther

Synopsis: Subtitled: “My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future.” Review: I have long been a fan of Elizabeth Esther’s blog (especially her previous tagline: “I use my words.”) I did not grow up in fundamentalism (thankfully) but did grow up with some of the premillenial dispensationalism that had me scared that I’d be Left Behind. When I joined a church that was affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America denomination, I was so relieved to find out that I no longer…

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A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett

Synopsis: When she is kidnapped in Somalia by Muslim extremists, an aspiring photojournalist sends her mind to a peaceful “house in the sky” to keep her soul intact during the brutalities of her year-long captivity. Review: After reading A House in the Sky, when my older daughter said she wanted to go to “all the countries” and learn “all the languages,” I was like, “NOOOOOO!” Amanda Lindhout’s journey began with her insatiable wanderlust, as a backpacker for whom no country was too rough. She attempted…

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Not Without My Sister: The True Story of Three Girls Violated and Betrayed by Those They Trusted by Kristina Jones, Celeste Jones and Juliana Buhring

Synopsis: The story of three sisters who were born and raised in the Children of God cult and how they escaped. Review: Not Without My Sister was rough reading, not just because the subject matter was so grim but because it was kind of sloppily written. The three sisters’ stories were all written with the same voice (probably that of a ghost writer) and I just couldn’t tell them apart enough to become invested in the drama of their escape. Share on Facebook

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Sober Mercies by Heather Harpham Kopp

Synopsis: Subtitled: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk. Review: Sober Mercies is first and foremost an addiction memoir, showing the secrecy and the deception and the havoc wreaked by Heather Harpham Kopp’s need to drink as much alcohol as possible every single day. What makes her story stand apart is that Kopp was (and still is) a professing Christian at the time of her addiction. She believed that alcoholism was only a sin problem, not an addiction or a disease, and so she…

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Tiger Babies Strike Back by Kim Wong Keltner

Synopsis: Subtitled: “How I Was Raised by a Tiger Mom but Could Not Be Turned to the Dark Side.” Review: My interest in Tiger Babies Strike Back petered out in the first 30 pages. Kim Wong Keltner is a good writer but I just grew weary of the memoir aspect of the story. I know it’s not entirely fair to judge the book you wish you were reading, but honestly I really wished she had talked to more families in an effort to present a…

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Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler

Synopsis: A sheltered young man realizes he needs to decide what he really believes in. Review: Aaron Hartzler is witty and perceptive, and Rapture Practice is an insider’s look at the wacky outskirts of evangelicalism. I didn’t stay very interested in the memoir aspect, mainly because as I’ve mentioned before I’m not crazy about the genre, but I did like the way Hartzler told his story. He’s a good writer, to be sure. And the review would have been longer, but my site was hacked…

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