I loved getting a glimpse into the world of Jehovah's Witnesses, as told by a former member, who broke free around the age of 20. Kyria Abrahams grew up in Pawtucket, RI, a highly intelligent, very funny, obsessive compulsive, no blood card carrying Jehovah's Witness. (Transfusions are evil, or at least spiritually and physically dangerous.) Sometimes the humor is a bit much, like Abrahams is trying too hard, but you forgive her because imbuing her crazy childhood with forced hilarity may be the only way she can face it. Other times the humor is so funny that I try to read it aloud to my spouse and can't without laughing. (The Smurf quote.)
I was interested to learn from the acknowledgements that Abrahams is friends with Janice Erlbaum, whose books I like and dislike in similar ways to how I feel about I'm Perfect. Essentially it's a well-told story, but the point at which you need her to snap out of it comes about 50 pages before she does so. That is probably how it was for her in reality, but she could have done a little judicious cutting for the reader's sake. And speaking of the reader's sake, there was no epilog! We last see the recovering JW when she's 23 and finally moved in to her own apartment, but she's not yet on track. I understand if Abrahams wants to save that story for a future book, but she could have given us a little something to go on. There's not much on her website, either, other than bio type credits. C'mon, how did you get from a shithole in Providence to the writers' life in Queens?
I'd also like to see or hear some of her slam poetry. While a disfellowshipped but not yet fully outside the Witnesses, Abrahams competed in the finals of a national poetry slam. That seems bizarre, right?
We listened to an impossibly boring sermon, most of which was spent calling the Catholics idiots for thinking the wine actually turned into blood. I mean, please, what we served was clearly plain old wine coming out of a plain old bottle which just needed to be ingested by the 144.000 human bodies that God had personally chosen to sit at his right hand in heaven. Let's not get silly about it. p.27
Across the board, Smurfs were a well-known portal to the demon realm. Parents knew it; elders knew it. It was mentioned from the stage and in public comments during the Watchtower Study, often in the same breath as Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. It proved the point that Satan was treacherous and vile, like a serpent. He would stop at nothing to turn us away from Jehovah, even targeting unsuspecting children.
Smurfs, it seemed, were decidedly un-Smurfy. Never once did I dare to Smurf a Smurf or Smurf a ride to Smurftown. I made it through the entire '80s without once owning a single item with a Smurf on it. And for my self-sacrifice in this matter, Jehovah found me totally Smurftastic. p.40