Girl at the End of the World
by Elizabeth Esther
Elizabeth Esther’s book, Girl at the End of the World, is about growing up in a cult that her grandparents founded known as The Assembly and finding freedom as a married woman with children of her own. Her story is powerful and engaging. Somehow she manages to balance the stories of child abuse, fear, anxiety, and childhood coping mechanisms with humor. Her narrative voice is witty and compelling. I read this book in one day despite frequent interruptions.
I love how she searches for grace, how she doesn’t give up on God even when she’s so hurt by those who claim to love Him. I also appreciate the interview questions at the back of the book because she makes it clear that she’s healing, growing, restoring, but that she’s still impacted by her childhood experiences. It’s beautiful even for those who don’t have experiences with child abuse or cults to see how she overcomes the pain of the past.
Elizabeth Esther also does a fairly good job of sharing about the pain without the graphic details becoming all-consuming. I liked that the redemption in her story always overshadows the hurt because you know that freedom is in her future. I was a little disappointed that she had to drop the “F” word into her book one time—so unnecessary, too, not even a part of the dialogue or anything. I felt like it was just a little purposeful stab at those who prefer language without cussing, as if to challenge our own ‘freedom’ in our faith. She does a great job, though, of emphasizing the hard work of recovery—the counseling and marital therapy and life changes she made.
It is, essentially, her personal story, a faith memoir. The book includes discussion questions, but they are likely more for book clubs than small groups or Bible study settings. I have a friend who says that even when she can look back now and see how God was protecting her, calling her, loving her even before she was saved. This book reminds me of that. Even when Elizabeth Esther seemed desperately stuck in hurtful place, I can see how God was opening her eyes to the truth of His grace, protecting her, and preparing the way for her freedom.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”