Archives: Testimonials

Vivid and engaging…

“Vivid and engaging, this memoir shows, with honesty and intelligence, the appeal of Pentecostal religiosity to a sensitive and searching teenager… Gelsinger’s excellent storytelling provides illuminating vignettes on her experience and how it was so often laced with doubt even as she sought certainty… A well-written, honest memoir that takes a multilayered view of revival.”
Kirkus Reviews

Searingly honest memoir of a young woman’s emergence

A deeply moving, searingly honest memoir of a young woman’s emergence from a radical Pentecostal sect. Gelsinger tells her tale without animosity or self-pity, but with kindness and grace. We travel with her as she leaves behind the exacting God of her childhood, and begins to see glimpses of a Spirit that animates all that is around her. An inspiring book about claiming one’s own freedom and finding the ‘revival’ within.

A must-read memoir for anyone searching for God in the aftermath of a shipwrecked faith experience

With a keen eye for detail and a sharp skill for storytelling, Carly Gelsinger’s Once You Go In is a must-read memoir for anyone searching for God in the aftermath of a shipwrecked faith experience. Gelsinger’s wise and poignant writing reminds us that there is hope after a shipwreck, there is light after darkness and most of all, there is love even in the midst of pain.

Most profound pieces of storytelling I have ever encountered

I have read a lot of memoirs, but Carly Gelsinger’s Once You Go In is one of the most profound pieces of storytelling I have ever encountered. It is the story of a young California girl who finds her way into a fundamentalist Pentecostal church and needs about a decade to find her way out again. The memoir unfolds slowly, as the naiveté of the young protagonist about where she is and what is happening to her dawns only very gradually. In the last third of the book we find ourselves cheering for Carly, hoping for her escape, for her rescue from those who were sure they knew where rescue could be found―in their own ignorant, exhausting, and, finally, very sad version of American Christianity. I cannot recommend this memoir highly enough, especially for those still trying to understand, or escape from, American fundamentalism.

Being a teenager is uncomfortable, desperate, and terrifying

Being a teenager is uncomfortable, desperate, and terrifying under the best circumstances; only much later can we look back and see the humor and magic of our most awkward years. The same is true of out-grown religion. We need space and time to integrate, recover, and laugh at the absurdity of it all. Carly Gelsinger does this with wisdom and candor: by exploring her past, she gives us permission to journey within our own.

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