Holy Roller: Growing up in the Church of Knock down, Drag out;: Or, How I Quit Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus: a Childhood Memoir [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this rollicking memoir, Diane Wilson—a Texas Gulf Coast shrimper and the author of the highly acclaimed An Unreasonable Woman—takes readers back to her childhood in rural Texas and into her family of Holy Rollers. By night at tent revivals, Wilson gets religion from Brother Dynamite, an ex-con who finds Jesus in a baloney sandwich and handles masses of squirming poisonous snakes under the protection of the Holy Ghost. By day, Wilson scratches secret messages to Jesus into the paint on her windowsill and lies ...

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Holy Roller: Growing up in the Church of Knock down, Drag out;: Or, How I Quit Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus: a Childhood Memoir

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Overview

In this rollicking memoir, Diane Wilson—a Texas Gulf Coast shrimper and the author of the highly acclaimed An Unreasonable Woman—takes readers back to her childhood in rural Texas and into her family of Holy Rollers. By night at tent revivals, Wilson gets religion from Brother Dynamite, an ex-con who finds Jesus in a baloney sandwich and handles masses of squirming poisonous snakes under the protection of the Holy Ghost. By day, Wilson scratches secret messages to Jesus into the paint on her windowsill and lies down in the middle of the road to see how long she can sleep in between passing trucks.


Holy Roller is a fast-paced, hilarious, sometimes shocking experience readers won’t soon forget. It is the prequel to Wilson’s first book, telling the story of the Texas childhood of a fierce little girl who will grow up to become An Unreasonable Woman, take on Big Industry, and win. One of the best Southern writers of her generation, Wilson’s voice twangs with a style and accent all its own, as true and individual as her boundless originality and wild youth.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her latest, shrimper and memoirist Wilson (An Unreasonable Woman) unspools the tale of her 1950s small-town upbringing along the Gulf Coast of Texas, the daughter of third-generation shrimpers. As in her first book, Wilson writes with a stylized cadence, sans extraneous punctuation, that readers will either take to or not: "Grandma ate Fritos in a glass of buttermilk for dinner and supper and that plus giving the radio evangelist all her shrimp-heading money was driving two of her daughters batty and two not so much." Her father, "a man's man who didn't talk unnecessarily to women," and is always off shrimping, leaves her to be raised by her eccentric mother and grandmother ("the original Waste Not Want Not-er... nothing was so low that it didn't get cooked into something else"), who nevertheless imbue her with strong, transcendent values. Meanwhile, a cast of characters that includes her Pentecostal Aunt Silver ("Pentecostals had faith and faith was the absence of planning") and a snake-handling Brother Dynamite lead her through a clash between the Church of Jesus Loves You and an upstart backwoods congregation. Wilson's distinctive voice makes for some whip-smart passages, and her southern Gothic world, a colorful and unpredictable place, is fully identifiable in its commitment to vice-tight family love and responsibility to some higher power.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

These two vivid memoirs, in very distinct voices, recollect childhood in the context-well, in the clutches-of all-encompassing religion. Wilson's fierce determination and passion characterized her first memoir, An Unreasonable Woman, about her David vs. Goliath fight against a polluting Texas chemical company. Now she delves into her childhood in a hardscrabble Pentecostal shrimping family, surrounded by fire-and-brimstone preachers, radio evangelists, tongue-speakers, snake-handlers, and her own relatives-believing women and fallen-away men. Wilson's prose is breathtaking in its dexterity and blunt poetry, as when she recounts being conscripted as a scout to accompany her grandfather and Aunt Patty, under cover of night, to break into a game warden's riverside shack in pursuit of an incriminating gun. Wilson evokes in her rural Gulf Coast setting an exotic place at the intersection of transcendence and squalor, coated in oyster dust and the conviction that God saves (the Pentecostal believers, and no one else).

In contrast to Wilson's intensity, Turner offers a gentle, amused-and slightly bemused-recollection of his own Christian fundamentalist upbringing. His story begins on the day his four-year-old, formerly Methodist self gets affixed with a clip-on necktie and whooshed off to a new, independent Baptist church and ends, more or less, the day he receives an award at his high school graduation for being "Most Christ-like" (out of a class of four). In between, the author reflects on his pastor's overly loud sermons, his own struggle with the sin of dilly-dallying, and the foibles of growing up in a family that would, for instance, celebrate Christmas by throwing apoorly-thought-through birthday party for Jesus, featuring a cake with 33 lit candles. As reflected in his subtitle, Turner, who has written several books on Christian life, came through the experience with faith intact. Churched would have benefited from more exploration of how and why, but it is a solid, poignant, and funny memoir nonetheless. Both books are recommended for public libraries, and Wilson's is essential.
—Janet Ingraham Dwyer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603580960
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,207,801
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Diane Wilson is an eco-warrior in action. A fourth-generation shrimper, Wilson began fishing the bays off the Gulf Coast of Texas at the age of eight. By 24, she was a boat captain. In 1989, while running her brother's fish house at the docks and mending nets, she read a newspaper article that listed her home of Calhoun County as the number one toxic polluter in the country. She set up a meeting in the town hall to discuss what the chemical plants were doing to the bays and thus began her life as an environmental activist. Threatened by thugs and despised by her neighbors, Wilson insisted the truth be told and that Formosa Plastics stop dumping toxins into the bay.


Since then, she has launched legislative campaigns, demonstrations, and countless hunger strikes to raise awareness for environmental and human rights abuses.


Wilson speaks to the core of courage in each of us that seeks to honor our own moral compass, and act on our convictions. She has been honored with a number of awards for her work, including: National Fisherman Magazine Award, Mother Jones's Hell Raiser of the Month, Louis Gibbs' Environmental Lifetime Award, Louisiana Environmental Action (LEAN) Environmental Award, Giraffe Project, Jenifer Altman Award, Blue Planet Award and the Bioneers Award.


She is also a co-founder of CODEPINK, the Texas Jail Project, Texas Injured Workers, Injured Workers National Network and continues to lead the fight for social justice.

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