Girl at the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther

Girl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a FutureGirl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future by Elizabeth Esther
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A well-written story of one woman’s journey of growing up in a strict, cult-like religious group. Though based on Christianity, the authoritarian nature of this group made it more like a cult than true Christianity. Spiritual abuse was rampant. Authority could not be questioned.
Sadly this type of story is more common than it should be. Thinking that they are following God, people are caught up in following a leader whose word is final. For this author, she tried to break away several times before finally succeeding after she had her own children. Thankfully her husband was willing to leave with her and they began a new life for themselves.
But just leaving is not enough. The emotional and mental baggage from such an upbringing plays its toll. The author struggled with panic attacks and had to leave church for a while as it brought back many triggers causing anxiety. Sadly, in an effort to raise children to follow God, the opposite effect often happens where the children grow to resent this “God” that is so demanding. The author went through therapy to work on removing all this baggage that was so ingrained in her upbringing.
One thing that makes me hesitant to recommend this book is the author ends up praying to Mary near the end of the book. She finds Catholicism to be how she best draws near to God. While I do think there are true believers within Catholicism, there are many beliefs that are not biblical, such as being saved through our works. And praying to Mary is definitely unbiblical.
Over all, this was a good read, though horrible to see how much spiritual and emotional abuse was put on these people who thought they were following God.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for my review.

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