Recovery From Religion Podcast interview drops!

New podcast interview on Recovery From Religion! Big thanks to the hosts, Tim and Bill, for being so thoughtful and welcoming. We had a wonderful conversation about my memoir, The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid! I deeply appreciate the opportunity to talk about the journey out and love questions that urge me to think deeper about the subject. Please join us at the link below for a listen.

Listen here: Recovery From Religion Podcast

Recovery From Religion is an invaluable resource for those who are extricating themselves from any religion. They have EXCELLENT PODCAST interviews:), books and videos, as well as connections to mental health services and a hotline number when you need help right now:

Need To Talk To Someone On The Phone? Call

Purchase The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid here.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert: it’s complicated

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS HUGE SPOILERS AND INCIDENTS OF ALL CAPS.

Seriously, this is a review for people who have already read this book. And you should definitely read this book.

Several friends suggested I read City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert-one went so far as to come to my house and hand me their copy. I found City of Girls, a refreshing story of female autonomy, engrossing from page one. It’s amazing, fantastic even, and I couldn’t put it down, but I do have some bones to pick.

The main character’s voice jumped off the page into my ear and I rooted for her every step of the way, even when she was being awful. Vivian is helped by being tall, skinny, and beautiful and for having the foresight to get really good at sewing in her youth. Looking like a supermodel and having superior skills in fashion design isn’t a bad set-up for life in the big city. The vibrant setting-New York City showbiz in the 1940s-makes you want to visit that time and place, in fact, I almost felt as though I had. Gilbert seamlessly weaves real-life events and people into the story, which enriches the historical context.

City of Girls explores nontraditional ways to live a woman’s life by showing how other women did it when alternatives were not readily available, and it is glorious. We see the benefits of hard work, natural talent, good looks, and learned courage. We see what a woman’s life looks like when she chooses self-determination and abandons norms: fulfillment of sexual desire on her own terms, loss of family connections, missteps that cause real pain to other people, freedom.

My issues with the story are as follows:

Young Vivian is the third party in a sexual threesome comprised of her best friend and the husband of a famous theater star. She is kinda coerced and kinda dumb and also really drunk when the tryst occurs. Unfortunately, the make-out session that led up to the encounter happened on the street and was photographed. Long story short, Vivian learns not to have sex with married men, but still spends the rest of her life sleeping around at will. That, of course, is not my problem. My problem is that even though she vows to never sleep with another married man, she picks up men in bars and beds them whenever she feels like it. I have bad news for Vivian and Elizabeth Gilbert-those men were probably ALL MARRIED. Men in bars who jump into bed with you ARE MARRIED, even in the 1940s. This seems like a significant oversight to me, especially since sisterhood is a main theme.

The star whose husband cheated dumps Vivian, but keeps the husband and the whole thing unfolds like Bill and Hillary. This dynamic goes unexplored, but it shouldn’t. IT SHOULDN’T, damn it. I don’t believe that unfaithfulness must automatically lead to divorce. How great would it be to spend some time mulling over how and why some couples stay together? And why the star forgave her husband, but not her friend?

And another thing, Vivian develops a long-term, secret friendship with a married man that can only be described as an emotional affair. How is that any better than having sex with him? Hell, its worse. This also goes unaddressed. The man and his wife lead separate lives and he is incapable of sex, so that makes it ok. Then why is it secret? Its secret because that goes to the main plot structure of the entire book. There, I have just about completely wrecked it for you.

All of my gripes aside, I loved this book because it’s about female desire, resilience, and how we can be when we decide to live the way want to. It shows the power of sisterhood while, perhaps inadvertently, admitting it’s shortcomings. Gilbert is a trailblazing voice for autonomy, not only in her writing, but by her willingness to share the details of her own life and loves. And I love her for it.

In Depth Review of Uncomfortable Confessions

You know when a review starts with a quote by Freud it’s gonna get into the details…

“Freud observed, “How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.” Ronna Russell in her book The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid, embodies the kind of selflove that enables one to share the most intimate and challenging details of life without fear.”

Scot Loyd’s review of The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid:

Uncomfortable Confessions
— Read on scotloyd.blog/2019/09/06/uncomfortable-confessions/

I am so honored and frankly stoked to share this review. It is a rare gift for a reader to connect and understand my story on various levels and with such pertinent insight.

Thank you, Scot.

*art by Rob Snow, available on poster lounge

 

Mindshift Podcast Interview

A couple of weeks ago Dr. Clint Heacock of Mindshift Podcast interviewed me about The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher’s Kid.  The interview was a great experience because he put me at ease right away with his thoughtful curiosity and willingness to let our conversation unfold, despite the fact that the husband had to ransack the snack cupboard in the middle of recording!

Here it is:  Interview Link

We talk about growing up fundie, fathers with secrets, making peace with it all, and sex, of course.

Dr. Heacock can be followed on Twitter @MindShift2018 to keep up on the latest conversation regarding deconversion. And of course, follow his blog!

New Review from In Bed With Married Women

Sex blogger Jill Hamilton of In Bed With Married Women writes about all things sex-positive with blunt, hilarious honesty. As it turns out, she also does book reviews! Lucky me! Here’s what she has to say about The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher’s Kid:

Click here for the review-scroll down the page a bit to get to the review. But then go back and read about her sex toy giveaway.

Or read it here:

The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid by Ronna Russell is a wonderfully honest memoir about growing up in an extremely religious household, marrying a not-so great closeted man and, discovering later in life, that her narcissistic, controlling father was dying from AIDS. Just thinking about it, I am now ashamed that I used the word “harrowing” for going to the stinking post office, when this is the real harrowing business of life. But it’s also a hopeful story.  Ronna is strong as hell and finding her way just fine. The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid is definitely in the genre of jacked-up childhood/eccentric parent reads like The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and Educated by Tara Westover.

Also follow Jill on Twitter because she is funny and smart. @Jill_Hamilton

Love Note #2

From a friend on Twitter:

Hi, Ronna! I am thoroughly enjoying your memoir. I can’t put it down. As an exvangelical, I can of course relate. BUT I had no idea how much I would relate to your marriage situation. It is almost identical to what I went through in my second marriage. We were only married three years, and didn’t have children. I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would have been for me to leave after 20 years and four children. My heart definitely goes out to you…and I feel so seen, knowing that other women have gone through what I endured…and felt the same way I did. It also is so encouraging to know I did the right thing leaving when I did. If I didn’t have the support of my friends, I might have stayed with him forever.

Order The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher’s Kid on Amazon.

hearts