Monday, February 1, 2010

Book Review

I'm Perfect, You're Doomed
By: Kyria Abrahams

This author's biography on her childhood within a Jehovah's Witness family is outrageous, funny, and a stark look at just how strange 'those people down the street' really are.

Kyria tells of a cocooned life where Witnesses are holy and the worldly folks around them are going to hell. The catch is this- heaven on earth can't last. Not when your own mother is having an extramarital affair, your father is so bored with his own unemployed life that he hides out in the asbestos filled basement. Demon possession via second hand china, college is evil, and the only way to get out of the house is to get married. So Kyria does. And when hit with the hard facts of life ... that's when the story really gets funny. I wont ruin it for you.

Quite an entertaining read. The only real problem I had with it is that it wasn't so much an exposé on Jehovah's Witnesses as it was a personal story of a youngster within a fundamentalist religion coming to terms with her obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolarism, alcoholism, and chronic housewife boredom. Kyria teaches us that it's all too easy to blame the other person for making our lives miserable, or what we think of as miserable, since the ideal life is always going to be out of reach.

(By the way, the Spanking Room really does exist.)

Chapter 10 excerpts during her elementary school years:

Lately I'd been getting the distinct impression that Sarah was looking for excuses to be alone.

This became clear after she told me that she needed to do homework -- for two months.

"Can I come and do my homework with you?" I asked.

"Kyria, you don't even do homework.

True, by this point I was pretty much failing every single one of my classes and was in the guidance counselor's office once a week. But so what? I wasn't going to college, so it wasn't like I needed high school for anything.

College was at best unnecessary, and at worst atheist boot camp. My parents hadn't gone, and on top of that, we couldn't afford it. At least I'd been in the gifted class where I'd gotten "feeling smart" out of my system. With my fourth-grade knowledge of Logo in tow, I figured I already had a leg up on a large percentage of American public school graduates.

If you dedicated your life to Jehovah, he would provide for you. Taking matters into your own hands by going to school was like saying you didn't believe God could really handle the apocalypse, so you were gonna stock up on M-80s. It was the equivalent of investing in a huge block of real estate in downtown Pompeii.


One of my greatest fears as a child had been accidentally touching an apostate. They picketed our assemblies and always blocked the entrance to the Civic Center by standing in front of the snow cone venders. Apostates had crazy eyes and yelled things like, "J-Dubs lied about the end of the world, 1974!" I wouldn't read their signs for fear of being possessed. I ran past them with my eyes closed and my fingers in my ears. I ran past them because my parents told me
never talk to an apostate.

Talking to an apostate -- someone who used to be a Jehovah's Witness and was now disfellowshipped -- was seen as a disfellowshipping offense in itself. This, we were told,
is like letting a demon enter your mind. We were not allowed to be in contact with any person who might offer counterarguments against the Jehovah's Witnesses, unless we were going door-to-door and proselytizing them, in which case, we were protected by the Holy Spirit.

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