This Dark World: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost

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9781582342771: This Dark World: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost
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A riveting memoir of one woman's immersion into Fundamentalist faith and her decision, twenty years later, to leave it all behind.

Carolyn Briggs grew up with modest means in the Iowa heartland. Pregnant at seventeen, married a few months later, by the age of eighteen she found herself living in a trailer with no plans beyond having more babies-until she found Jesus. It began innocently enough-a few minutes lingering on the televangelist stations, a cursory look at the Bible-and soon she had wholly given herself over to a radical, apocalyptic New Testament church. Her daily life was permeated with a sense of the divine-she spent hours a day in prayer and Bible study, wore modest clothing, even braced herself for the Rapture every time she heard trumpet music over the supermarket loudspeaker. It was only when her marriage began to unravel that Carolyn dared to question the religious dogma she had embraced for all of her adult life to date.

Beautifully written and powerfully told, this memoir is a fascinating look at the nature of faith and the inspiring story of one woman's struggle to find her place in the world.

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About the Author:

Carolyn S. Briggs received her BA and MFA from the University of Arkansas. Her short story 'Incarnate' won the Heartland Short Fiction Prize and was published in New Letters. She currently teaches composition and creative writing in Des Moines, Iowa, where she lives with her husband David.

From Publishers Weekly:

Briggs's memoir is a riveting page-turner that rings emotionally true, as well as a brave contribution to a growing literature that tells the extraordinary stories of supposedly ordinary women. Its first third, however, has become all too familiar: A bookish, awkward girl from the wrong side of the tracks blossoms but is thwarted in her attempts to rise above her station. This motif has appeared in many a novel, memoir and film in the past few decades, and its charm and power have worn thin. The book breaks newer ground as it chronicles Briggs's adult life as a born-again Christian. Most fascinating is her account of her faith community in the 1970s; as self-identified "Jesus Freaks," she and her friends blended progressive/alternative practices such as eating health food and nursing each other's children with right-wing religious dogma. Too little has been written about American Christian fundamentalism among hippies in the pre-Moral Majority days, and, as such, Briggs's book shines light in a dim corner. Unfortunately, her exoticized depiction of born-again believers as well as her abrupt and superficial explanation of her loss of faith seem more self-serving and less honest than the rest of the book. One understands why she fled a stultifying marriage and a suffocating theology, but her newfound atheism is a mystery. Regardless, readers will find this book as addictive as a good novel, and it will leave them asking questions about their own lives and faith experiences.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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9781582341613: This Dark World: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost

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Publisher: Bloomsbury USA, 2002
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