A few years ago I published my memoir of growing up as a United Pentecostal preacher’s kid (The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid). Its a fairly harrowing tale in a lot of ways and I chose not to sugarcoat my story. I am convinced that no one of any gender or sexual orientation escapes fundamentalism without some trauma and deep misunderstandings about sex and intimacy. Look no further than the recent news about conservatives’ war on women (its all related but that’s another post).

The following book review appeared on Amazon the other day, written by a self-proclaimed Christian who is very uncomfortable with the graphic sex in my memoir. I have no beef with this person, they have every right to their opinion and every right to post an honest review. I find it enlightening. The part that makes me shake my head is the assumption that I intended to reach a Christian audience and spoon-feed them a point. Not so. Don’t care. I even support their contention that my book is porn. Whatevs. (The anthologies I have been published in are not porn, however, and was also an assumption on the part of this reviewer. Don’t care too much about that, either.)

A few days later I received a private message from a survivor of fundamentalism. I do not know this person or where they got my book. The survivor’s message is one of many that I have received since publication in 2019 and I am so grateful for them. I knew I wasn’t alone and I am totally okay with going out on a limb to speak truth about how utterly fucked up fundamentalist teachings about sexuality are and how long lasting the damage is. Lifetime trauma, irrational fears, strange expectations, and intimacy difficulties. It is super common and normal for a person escaping fundamentalism to get wild for a while. Just like recovering from other types of sexual abuse and trauma, kink often plays a part in sorting things out. It’s okay. It really is.

I hope you enjoy comparing the following responses. Interesting, no?

Christian Review:

2.0 out of 5 stars Important story, but needs a wider audience

I think this author’s story is important to tell and you can feel her hurt from the abuse she endured as you read her story.
That said, it’s a hard read if you are unprepared for what is in these pages. The author falls into traps where she is basically writing passages of porn. It’s not surprising to look at her author page and see she’s contributed stories to porn anthologies.
Why is this a problem? First off, I am a Christian who knows firsthand the effects of spiritual abuse. Unlike others, it hasn’t made me swear off allegiance to God. That said, I am not interested in reading porn. The use of it in this book adds nothing to her story.
It also will alienate anybody in the church who wants to learn about spiritual abuse and the red flags to look for and how they can help others who have endured such an ordeal. I suspect most would put the book down after the first page or two and give up if they were so minded.
For that reason, I have to give the book two stars. Sorry, but it appears she wants to write a compelling autobiography of what she endured in the church but also has aspirations to be a porn novelist and used this project to practice her writing skills. It’s over the top and unnecessary. There are ways to disclose she had affairs and sexual encounters without going into graphic detail. The two styles in this book do not make a compelling book, it makes it alienating to half the audience who could have benefited from it. And the other half? People looking for porn fiction? What does the other half of this book do for them?

Survivor Review

Btw, i absolutely loved your book, The uncomfortable confessions of a preachers kid.
I too am a preachers kid. My parents are of the Apostolic assembly of the faith in Jesus.
I was born into it but always felt like something didn’t feel right. I knew it at a very young age. I told myself just fake the funk until you are old enough to get the heck out of here. So i did. I lived a double life, wearing makeup and trying to fit in with the “regular” kids at school and then pretended to believe on church days. As much as i could. I asked questions that made people uncomfortable so i was labeled as “rebellious” and that i had a bad spirit. I too faked receiving the Holy Ghost. Was the only way to get them off my back and to prove i wasn’t demon possessed as they already thought.
The teachings of the rapture, taught to me at a very young age have had a tremendous affect on me

The thought of teaching a small child they would be left alone in the world if they wore makeup or jeans was traumatizing and has left me with abandonment issues i working on. I know this is a long read but i thank you soooo much for your book. I felt validated and not crazy. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.