Girl at the End of the World (Paperback)
My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future
Convergent Books, 9780307731876, 213pp.
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
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
About the Author
Praise For Girl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future…
Praise for Girl at the End of the World
“What a story! Girl at the End of the World is witty, insightful, courageous, and compelling, the sort of book you plan to read in a week but finish in a day. Elizabeth Esther is a master storyteller who describes her journey out of fundamentalism with a powerful mix of tenderness and guts. With this debut, Esther sets herself apart as a remarkable writer and remarkable woman. This book is a gift, and I cannot commend it enough.”
—Rachel Held Evans, blogger and author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood
“Sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic, Girl at the End of the World provides an unflinching look at life growing up inside a fundamentalist cult. Elizabeth Esther’s honest and vulnerable account of her childhood, and the effects of her parents’ religious zeal, is both fascinating and poignant. I couldn’t put this book down. It will provide hope to anyone recovering from an upbringing where religiosity was emphasized over a relationship with God.”
—Kristen Howerton, author of RageAgainsttheMinivan.com
“Girl at the End of the World is an unforgettable memoir. I white-knuckled its pages as I traveled through Elizabeth Esther’s heartbreaking childhood. I cheered for her when she finally found freedom and grace. It’s eye-opening, powerfully written, and offers a vital perspective in the conversation about fundamentalism and religious abuse.”
—Jason Boyett, author of O Me of Little Faith
“Elizabeth Esther’s story is a powerful account, and she’s told it beautifully. As I read, I thought of my own memories of growing up in an evangelical church and wondered how they’ve made me the person I am today. This book is a reminder that God is good and that He can redeem any story for His beloved children—or as Elizabeth says, that ‘God is big enough to meet us anywhere.’ I’m so glad she has bravely told her tale.”
—Tsh Oxenreider, author of Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World
“There is life on every page. Girl at the End of the World is evidence that sometimes our scars make the most beautiful art.”
—Josh James Riebock, author of Heroes and Monsters
“A delightful book: funny and wise and rich with insight about God and faith. Even while Elizabeth tells the darker threads of her story, her innocence, wit, and spiritual exuberance shine brightly.”
—Matthew Paul Turner, author of Churched and Our Great Big American God
“A memoir about childhood should not read like a seat-of-the-pants thriller, but Elizabeth Esther’s does. And that’s scary. I found myself wishing I could reach through the pages and hug that cowering, desperate girl, and tell her that God truly loves her. I’m so glad she knows His devotion now, and so grateful that she is sharing her story so that we, as God’s ambassadors, can make sure abuse in the name of ‘child training’ never happens again.”
—Sheila Wray Gregoire, author and blogger at ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com
“Elizabeth shares with candor, wit, and near flawless writing about the religion she was so deeply hurt by. Her story is heartbreaking, yet redemptive, and we would all do well to pay attention to how religion without the love, grace, and truth of Jesus Christ is an empty and destructive force.”
—Sarah Mae, author of Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe