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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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…

Overall Book Review:

I have always been quite fascinated by religious cults and the people living life within them. The story we receive in Girl at the End of the World is one at first of terror and shame, and later, one of freedom and redemption. I found this book to be encouraging to me–not because I was raised in a religious cult, but because I was raised in a home where discipline was given by way of spanking, as was Elizabeth Esther, the author of this memoir. I was very interested to get her persepctive on being punished for her wrong-doings. For many years I just accepted my spankings as my due, not thinking that it might be a form of abuse. Elizabeth opened my eyes further to this matter, and I think even if you were brought up in a non-disciplinary household, you will still be on the edge of your seat throughout this book, waiting to see what will happen next to this young girl who is struggling to find her way in a world of fear.

Abuse and religion are only one facet to this memoir. Elizabeth also expounds on everyday life, family, and marriage. Though it is difficult (I won’t give away any key spoilers), you should really read this book for yourself to find out what happens. And once you read it, check out some of the reviews on Amazon and the clip on Youtube from her appearance on Anderson Cooper. This is a controversial read that will hold your attention to the very last page.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  3 religious exclamations; 2 mild obscenities; 1derogatory name; 1 F-Word derivative.

Violence/Gore:  Child abuse is mentioned multiple times; injuries sustained from child abuse and discipline are described briefly; bullying is mentioned several times.

Sex/Nudity:  Minors kiss several times; mature discussions regarding sex are described; a man is mentioned to be having an affair.

Mature Subject Matter:

Bullying, body image issues, child abuse, cults.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.