Girl at the End of the World {Book Review}


Girl at the End of the World
by Elizabeth Esther

About the book:
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.
Oh, this book. Where do I even begin? This book is so overwhelmingly sad but yet so interesting I couldn't put it down. It is difficult to journey with someone as she shares intimate details from her life. Even though it is difficult, this book is definitely worth reading.

It seems strange when I say I enjoyed reading this book, as Elizabeth’s life in The Assembly {the cult that has her in its grip throughout her young life} seems anything but enjoyable. But the writing itself feels so effortless, so graceful, and is seasoned with enough humor and wisdom that reading it is indeed a treat.

This book includes daily "required" spankings from age 6 months upward.  Basically systematic abuse of children, including the tempting of infants with candy and subsequent spankings to “train” them like dogs.  The sad truth, as I quickly realized, is that Elizabeth is not exaggerating in the least when she talks about the fact that her childhood and young adulthood were spent deep inside a cult.

I am going to be honest, there are some "colorful" words in the book.  And I was a bit taken aback by the use of some of them in a Christian book.  But as I was reading it, I kept thinking how it was real, honest and not sugar-coated even in the language.  That's what makes the book so relateable.

Her story is raw. Her story is painful. Her story is horrible. But her story is also beautiful and encouraging in the best ways, and you don’t need to have been raised in a cult to relate to Elizabeth’s trials and triumphs.  I would absolutely recommend this book!

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.

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