You need to read this book!
Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning.
Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents' rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else--anywhere else. Her travels took her across three continents in buses, cars, and planes, across mountains and over deep blue seas.
What she hadn't realized was that her faith was waiting for her the whole time--in the place she least expected it.
Poignant and passionate, Atlas Girl is a deeply personal story of the yearning we all share to be truly known, entirely forgiven, and utterly loved.
I loved this memoir. I've never read a memoir before so I wasn't exactly certain what to expect. I was so pleasantly surprised, The power and passion behind Emily T. Wierenga's prodigal story is profound and absolutely amazing. Her raw honesty touched my heart in so many ways. It was a book of aching tears, anger, sweet smiles and quiet reflection - and I felt every one of those on every single page!
What I loved most about Emily's book was her writing. Her brutally honest assessment bled into each chapter with each word she chose. It's poetic flavour and heart-gripping prose left me speechless at times. It made the pages sing like a bouquet. (That's my lame attempt to be like her ;)). In her own words, Emily says: "That's life and faith too. Messy, blurred and beautiful." Anyway, her words truly were beautiful and open and authentic as she laid bare her heart and her life with her readers.
The next thing I loved about her book was the actual story. Her life has been colourful and vibrant at times and seared with pain and loss at others. Her journey closer to the heart of God demonstrated on each page so beautifully depicts the brokenness and redemption tension we all live in. The story of her childhood eating disorder and family angst married into her mother's great loss physically and emotionally was poignant and bittersweet. Yet with the sweetest of endings that only God could author.
One last thing I loved about the book were the quotes. Each chapter began with a quote. I wrote many of them down in my journal alongside some new ones I love too by Emily.
The only downfall I encountered in reading the book was the bouncing timeline. Each chapter tells a story starting with the location and the date. This was helpful at first. But the chapters do not tell a linear story. And soon I began turning back and forth to discover if this next segment happened before or after that segment. However, in hindsight I discovered a couple of things. First, that the way and format she tells her story is truly compelling and interactive - indicative of how our lives are so interwoven through people and time. After awhile I choose to ignore the dates and just fall into the story as Emily chose to unfold it. This helped greatly. Secondly, (and I didn't find this till I turned the last page) there is a proper, consecutive timeline printed on the last pages. A great thing to include - only wished I'd seen it earlier.
On a personal side note, it was very fun for me to read a book where I've been to one of the setting locations. I live only a few hours from Edmonton, Alberta and found a sense of school-girl joy when she would list a location that I'd been to and could actually picture. That was cool! It has been a great pleasure to support a local CANADIAN author.
Overall, I've been so profoundly impacted by Emily's story and her faith in love and in His love. I received my copy of her book for free but have already ordered a few copies to use for friends and family that I know will love her story.
Without any hesitation I recommend this book to anyone. Especially those who have wandered aimlessly in their journey with God. Whether you had (or have) an eating disorder, a debilitating illness in your family or a twisted and convoluted view of religion doesn't matter. This book goes so much deeper than the events into the heart of what God truly wants for us. Emily quotes many times throughout her book the whisper from God that I'm certain changed her life.
Watch Me take care of you.
And who of us doesn't want to see the Hand of God in our lives?
Find an excerpt here. Or a book trailer here. Or Emily herself here.
Thank you to Emily Wierenga, Nuts About Books Blogger program and Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this amazing book. I received the book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.