“An incendiary piece of work.” —Kirkus Review
“Zichterman’s compelling and moving book will appeal to readers of memoir.” —Library Journal
“This is one edgy, thought-provoking odyssey—from oppressed child to ultimate whistle-blower.” —Booklist
Raised in the secret world of the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) church, Zichterman aims here to shed light on a faith that is largely unknown in mainstream America although it has hundreds of thousands of followers. The IFB movement grew out of the Doctrine of Separation conceptualized by Bob Jones (founder of Bob Jones University) in the 1950s, teaching believers to separate from other faiths, including other Christian sects, to avoid being secularized and compromising the true faith. The IFB approach can spawn paranoia in its adherents and give rise to fear. Children in the IFB are mostly homeschooled so that they only learn what the church wants them to know. Followers present a perfect image of godly living while terrible stories of abuse lurk under the surface. In this compelling autobiography, Zichterman candidly describes the physical and emotional abuse she experienced at the hands of her father, noting that hers was not an isolated case. While her resentment with the church from which she has now escaped is clear in the writing style, her courage in speaking out against this network of believers and offering clear documentation is laudable. VERDICT Zichterman's compelling and moving book will appeal to readers of memoir and those interested in fringe U.S. religious sects existing today.—Keri Youngstrand, Dickinson State Univ. Lib., ND
An incendiary piece of work.” Kirkus Review
“Zichterman's compelling and moving book will appeal to readers of memoir.” Library Journal
“This is one edgy, thought-provoking odysseyfrom oppressed child to ultimate whistle-blower.” Booklist
A damning memoir of life under the thumb of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church, from former member Zichterman. Although it appears that the author's father is a seriously disturbed individual in his own right, the teachings of the IFB leave little to the imagination regarding the place of women in their worldview, where submission is their due--and they pay for even the smallest infraction with bloody lashings. Not that the boys went unbeaten, and Zichterman would sing quietly to her doll as her brothers got the rod. Under the guise of godly discipline, the IFB nurtured paranoia, "a clandestine subculture that breeds fear and suspicion," in which the members "have no idea that charitable organizations and government authorities exist that could offer them counseling and protection." So they remain silent, and the girls remain silent before the physical and sexual abuse. It is unnerving--even infuriating--to read of Zichterman's ordeal--all the fear, depression, guilt and pain, in a tone that is not so much unvarnished as vulnerable, the thrum of something evil playing right under the surface as she would curl up and weep at another episode of her father's wrath. When she was 18, her father was still whipping her, ordering her to remove her clothes before administration, in a grotesque sexual sadism. But Zichterman's story is more than a grisly tale of abuse. It is a glimpse into what is potentially happening in thousands of families caught in the IFB orbit. She eventually broke from the church, an act of heroism that it is difficult to imagine given such obvious brainwashing. An incendiary piece of work that will hopefully encourage other victims to escape the IFB's web.