Title: Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look
Author: Emily T. Wierenga
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Received via publisher
Disillusioned and yearning for freedom, Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning. Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents' rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else--anywhere else. Her travels took her across Canada, Central America, the United States, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. She had no idea that her faith was waiting for her the whole time--in the place she least expected it.
Poignant and passionate, Atlas Girl is a very personal story of a universal yearning for home and the assurance that we are known, forgiven, and beloved. Readers will find in this memoir a true description of living faith as a two-way pursuit in a world fraught with distraction. Anyone who wrestles with the brokenness we find in the world will love this emotional journey into the arms of the God who heals all wounds.
I don't usually read memoirs. Nonfiction is not my thing, although lately I have been trying to read more of it. But something about this book inspired me to pick it up, and I'm so glad I did. It was so touching, real, and inspiring, and I am so glad I read it.
It did take a while for me to get into it, as I usually find nonfiction books to drag a little. But once I got into it, I could not put it down. The writing was so honest, and deep. Emily chose to share such a huge part of herself with this book, and it shows. It could not have been easy to share some of the things she did with complete strangers, but they made the story come to life.
Although this story is about her travels, it is about so, so much more: it is about life, and family, and finding God, and turning away from God, and coming back to God. It's about discovering herself, finding her husband, loving her mother. She shared about the experiences that shaped her, such as her anorexia and her mother's cancer. All of these things came together to create such a powerful, poignant story.
I will say, the timeline had me a bit confused, as it flips back and forth. While the date is always at the beginning of each chapter, I would forget what had happened when, although nothing that really deterred my reading experience.
This book was so powerful, and one of the most inspiring books I think I have ever read. And I don't say that lightly. For anyone who struggles--with identity, with God, with family--this is the book for you. (And even if you think you don't struggle with anything...this is the book for you.)