The Truth Book: Growing up among Jehovah's Witnesses

Overview

"The personal account of a young girl who endured abuse and the disturbing effects of religious hypocrisy within one of the most enigmatic sects of Christian fundamentalism." "Joy Castro is adopted as a baby and raised by a devout Jehovah's Witness family. As a child, she is constantly told to always tell the truth, no matter the consequences, for she must model herself on Jehovah, and Jehovah does not lie. She dutifully studies the truth book, a supplemental religious text that contains the principles of the faith." When Joy is ten years old, ...
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Overview

"The personal account of a young girl who endured abuse and the disturbing effects of religious hypocrisy within one of the most enigmatic sects of Christian fundamentalism." "Joy Castro is adopted as a baby and raised by a devout Jehovah's Witness family. As a child, she is constantly told to always tell the truth, no matter the consequences, for she must model herself on Jehovah, and Jehovah does not lie. She dutifully studies the truth book, a supplemental religious text that contains the principles of the faith." When Joy is ten years old, her parents divorce. Earlier, her father had been disfellowshipped, or excommunicated from the congregation, for smoking. When Joy is twelve, her mother marries a respected brother in their church. He has an impeccable public persona, but behind closed doors at home he is a savage brute. Joy and her younger brother Tony are forbidden from seeing their father and are abused mercilessly - to the point they both think they are going to die. Their battered mother does nothing to protect them. Nor does their church, to which Joy voices her appeals. For two years they suffer, until one day Joy reaches out to her father, and together they plan and execute the children's daring escape.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
An uneven look back at an abusive childhood. Castro, an English professor at Wabash College, in Indiana, grew up in horrific, and unusual, circumstances. She was adopted by parents who were Jehovah's Witnesses. When they divorced, she lived with her astoundingly irresponsible, and emotionally absent adoptive mother. (When Mom goes out for a night on the town and Joy begs her to come home at 11 p.m., mom angrily replies, "Do you have to ruin everything for me?") Then Castro's mother remarries, and things go from bad to worse. Castro's stepfather beats everyone in the family, and forbids Castro and her younger brother to talk to their father. Castro's church community is aware that things are not harmonious in Joy's home, but no one steps in. Eventually, Castro escapes and moves in with her adoptive father. Living with him is a decided improvement, even though he has a disturbing habit of commenting on the figure of every woman they meet and refuses to pay for his children to go to college. Castro has plenty of raw material for a powerful story, but the book is seriously flawed. The narrative veers back and forth, from adulthood to childhood to adolescence and back again: The opening eight pages skip from a first-person monologue from the mouth of Joy's birth mother, to a thickly sensory description of Marrakech and San Crist-bal de las Casas, to a four-page reminiscence about Castro's interviews for academic jobs in 1997. In a Cormac McCarthy novel, this episodic style is a strength. Here, it is a confusing distraction, likely to deter all but the most committed reader. The final 85 pages, which follow a clearer chronology, and include a carefully crafted account of Castro's reunion withher birth mother, are stronger...but one wonders whether anyone will get that far. Reads like a first draft.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559707879
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/7/2005
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2006

    A Young Bible Student

    Catholics, Jews, Mormons, etc. nobody in any religion is perfect. Since she was a Jehovah Witness she wrote a book so people who hate Witnesses can have another thing bad to say about them. It makes me mad there is people like her who have to say hurtfull things about peoples religion in order to make them feel better, its not the religion that has a problem and if you dont like us then you should say no thank you when we knock at your door.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2005

    Response to Kirkus Review

    This book is probably one that should be read by readers with some real-world experience. The review by Kirkus merely belies the inexperience or woefully inadequate ability of the reviewer to follow a story and understand how interconnected life events really are -- Joy Castro's job search, the houses of Marrakesh, etc. all mean something -- they all signify -- the reviewer is simply not mature enough to read this extremely well-written book that allows the reader to reflect on his/her own life experiences, upbrining, etc., but also to reflect on his/her own parenting skills, and also to think about what really happens behind those closed doors across the street . . . Great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2008

    Great Read!

    I thought this book was great. The beginning jumps a little but ends up being very well written.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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