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I'm Perfect, You're Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah's Witness Upbringing

3.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,308 Ratings  ·  288 Reviews
I'm Perfect, You're Doomed is the story of Kyria Abrahams's coming-of-age as a Jehovah's Witness -- a doorbell-ringing "Pioneer of the Lord." Her childhood was haunted by the knowledge that her neighbors and schoolmates were doomed to die in an imminent fiery apocalypse; that Smurfs were evil; that just about anything you could buy at a yard sale was infested by demons; an ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by Touchstone (first published February 17th 2009)
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Sep 13, 2009 Callie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2 1/2 stars actuallly. She tricked me! The first few chapters are hi-LAR-ious accounts of her childhood as a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses--and though she is writing as an ex-member she doesn't seem too bitter or biting in her comments about the religion, but that's just the first few chapters...Then we descend into her ever increasingly not funny and uncomfortable world of OCD, alcoholism and cutting, along with dysfunctional parents, suicide attempts and relationship mayhem--the standard c ...more
If you've never been a Jehovah's Witness, this is a hilarious and piercingly accurate depiction. If you've been in her boat, the recognition will reach out and smack your face, even while you're laughing.

I gave it only three stars just because it was written with such exhausting realism and right now I'm recovering from a flashback. As a cult-recovery memoir, it is extremely well done and deserves five stars.
I consider myself to be a pretty compassionate person, but I failed to see any admirable qualities in this narcissistic, self-absorbed woman who used her Jehovah's Witness upbringing as a crutch for her abominable behavior and complete lack of even an ounce of consideration for others.

I kept reading, hoping that by the end of the book she would begin to mature, come to her senses, and at least begin a road to redemption. Never happened. I just couldn't get past my ever-progressing distaste for
Mar 17, 2009 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never realized my cousin, Kyria, was so funny. Although we were raised by brothers, it's almost as if we were raised by the same dad.
What disfunctional families we had!!

At least we both got smart and left a religion that tried to run our lives. They stole five years of my life with Mom before she died. I feel like I've been raped. Disfellowshipping is so unchristian.

Thanks for putting it in writing, Kyria!
Anthony Mathenia
Sep 29, 2011 Anthony Mathenia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The extended three day weekend of decidedly unsocial, social obligations provided me with the luxury of being able to lounge around and read Kyria Abraham’s humerous memoir, “I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed, Tales of a Jehovah’s Witness Upbringing.”[return][return]When it comes to talking about her life, Kyria is a very good story teller, particularly adept at finding the lighter side of a life that wasn’t always easy. In doing so it wouldn’t surprise me of some events and situations are embellished ...more
Sep 03, 2013 Denis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
***I had to amend my original review. It's been a few months after I finished and I think I see it in a different light.

At first I gave this book five stars, then two and now it's four. The first few chapters were pretty accurate describing what it can be like to grow up as a Jehovah's Witness. But then she started talking about getting married and how her life just went down hill from there. The last one third of the book describes her struggles with OCD, depression, and alcohol addiction. But
Paul Pessolano
My interest was drawn to this book because I liked the title, I liked the cover, and I liked the subject matter. You know the old adage, "Never judge a book by its cover" and you can add, "Never judge a book by its title">

Kyria Abrahams was brought up a Jehovah's Witness. She was led to believe that Armageddon is upon us. This theme is repeated throughout the book. She must also marry another Jehovah's Witness, and she finds the pickings mightly slim. You are encouraged (almost forced) to att
Mar 27, 2009 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I first heard about this book in, I think, Bust magazine. It's also another one of those books I bought for someone else then promptly borrowed for myself. I enjoyed this book very much because it really changed my perspective, and that's high praise for a book. As ignorant as it sounds, I thought, Oh, those poor Jehovah's Witness kids, they must really miss doing all those fun seasonal activities! And birthday parties! So sad! It never occurred to me that they were very HAPPY to avoid all such ...more
Susan Bazzett-griffith
3.5? 3.75? I liked this book and almost loved it, but it felt unfinished. I realize a memoir is supposed to describe only a particular time in one's life, not a full autobiography, but I let myself get completely engulfed in this quirky, odd, intriguing life story, and then it just stops. Almost as though it is poised for a sequel (please, Ms. Abrahams? I'd totally buy it this time and not just order it from the library....).

The most notable aspect of this memoir that made me such a fan is the
Sep 02, 2009 Naomi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one girl's story of her life growing up in the Jehovah's Witness religion. It's a really funny book considering the heavy topic, namely how one girl was raised to be an uneducated, ill-equipped-for-reality young adult because she was part of a doomsday cult that teaches nothing matters because God is about to destroy everything at Armageddon.

This book was a relief for me to read personally because it pointed out all the ridiculous things about the Jehovah's Witness religion in such a li
I have a habit of buying books based solely on the title and then being disappointed by the books themselves. This memoir, though not perfect, was satisfying and lived up to the title.

Kyria Abrahams was a Jehovah's Witness but has been disfellowshipped (basically, that means shunned). I know better than to judge an entire religion based on a memoir by one disappointed ex-member. What I liked about this memoir was the chance to see the religion through her eyes. She and I are about the same age a
Jul 30, 2009 Kirsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes memoirs are dangerous things, especially memoirs that are going for a more "wacky" angle about the author's bizarre and/or horrifying childhood. This is a good one, though; Abrahams treats her childhood self sympathetically, but also can't help but point out both the absurdity of her situation and the insane way she handled it.

As the title indicates, Kyria Abrahams grew up Jehovah's Witness, and the first part of her memoir is a fascinating child's eye view of what this entails and how
May 03, 2009 Mallory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While there are moments that Kyria Abrahams' antics wear a little thin ("Really? Are you serious? Oh come on!"), which I think is the case with many memoirs, this is a largely touching, often hysterical, sometimes disturbing account of a young woman reared as a Jehovah's Witness and her interactions with her family, her faith, and her "heathen" friends. Panic attacks over accidentally attending a birthday party, images of the Apocalypse and that god-awful door-to-door stuff fill the foreground f ...more
Angela Smith
May 21, 2009 Angela Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK, so this is likely not to have as much an impact on you unless you're familiar with the Jehovah's Witness theology or have had some exposure to the religion. I found this book to be fantastic - it was funny, irreverent, but spot-on. I felt like this woman had followed me around and written this book about me- it was frightening how much I could relate. Further proof that when you leave the religion, your entire world does not come tumbling down, you do not become a drug-addicted prostitute, a ...more
Sep 02, 2009 M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Somewhat interesting, but the author is such a self-absorbed, manipulative brat that I was left feeling sorrier for the cult than for her and thinking she might as well have stayed in it for all the wisdom she's gained. There was no real examination of doctrine or search for truth; it was just that in rebelling against her dysfunctional family she also rebelled against all idea of religion as she discovered she could escape the pangs of conscience and live to please her own appetites.
Jun 20, 2010 Bunny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-10
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian Erland
Jul 15, 2009 Brian Erland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I'm Perfect, You're Doomed" provides the reader with a delightful blend of thoughtful insights into the world of the Jehovah's Witness sifted through the humorous, witty mind of author and comedian Kyria Abrahams. There's nothing quite like laughing and learning while you read. Woody Allan and Ram Dass have long been masters of this teaching technique and it appears that Miss Abrahams is more than just familiar with the method.

I've read several books by ex-Jehovah's Witnesses detailing the tri
Apr 17, 2012 Coleen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
4/9/10 - My knowledge of Jehovah's Witnesses is fairly limited. I had a friend growing up who was a JW. We weren't close friends, and I think that's probably largely due to the fact that she was indeed a JW & even at a young age, that kind of creeped me out. I was never confrontational enough to get in her face & challenge her beliefs, but it was definitely disturbing to me that she couldn't celebrate birthdays & holidays, & that there were supposedly only 144,000 people who got ...more
May 08, 2009 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since the same traumatic childhood memories that make accounts like this so disconcerting to read are also what make it so compelling, it's only natural for the reader to feel like the voyeur to the author's exhibitionist. Best to accept that relationship, and move past judging Kyria Abrahams for her choices (as the congregation did) or condemning the Kingdom Hall for their oppression (as many readers, myself included, certainly want to.)

Beyond those knee-jerk reactions is the story of a smart g
Fear not--this former Jehovah's Witness memoir isn't an attack on doctrinal or organizational matters. Instead it focuses on Kyria's personal experiences as a child and young adult as a JW. Not that these experiences are highly complimentary or even all that realistic. I think she touches on every aspect of JW-dom that might seem out of the ordinary to non-JWs and ratchets up the strange on most of them. Anyone raised as a JW will probably relate to her description of accidentally attending a bi ...more
Mar 21, 2012 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book from a book store that was going out of business. It was one of the only books left in the religious section, and since I have a strong interest in other religions and cultures, I thought it would be a good addition to my collection.
"I'm Perfect, You're Doomed" is the true story of a girl who is raised from birth as a Jehovah's Witness and slowly falls away from her beliefs on her path to adulthood.
Most of the book is great. It's well-written, and the first half of the book
Oct 17, 2010 Judith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hot-books-read
I'm Perfect, You're Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah's Witness by Kyria Abrahams takes a humorous approach to apocalypticism. That a young woman, coming of age, believing that the end of the world is near, is unprepared for adult responsibility just begs for pleasing punchlines. Jehovah's Witnesses' beliefs, for example, that attending birthday parties or buying used furniture will result in demon possession, adds to the silliness. However, after Abrahams is “disfellowshiped,” and she still cannot d ...more
I can tell that this was written by a comedian, as she definitely has a funny style and voice in the book. However, it did get uncomfortable to read, especially toward the end, with the lifestyle she had. She does show herself in an unflattering and silly light, which I believe she does on purpose to be self-deprecating - to show how ignorant she was being a part of the Jehovah's witnesses. I think she does bring up a good point, that if so many things were all just considered bad, from murder t ...more
The first 100 pages or so are the most interesting, in my opinion. They cover her childhood as a Jehovah's Witness.

After that, the memoir is more just about her making really bad decisions involving drugs, alcohol, cutting and getting away with be a drain on society.

She doesn't really appear to go through any growth as a person (at least, not that she conveyed) and the last half of the book felt sloppy, disorganized and had some big gaps in the stories.

The best part of the book is where she's
Jun 07, 2009 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have had a most difficult time rating this, and was really torn between the two and three stars...... Not that it wasn't mildly entertaining or that the "story" did not resonate with me, it's just, how do I explain it? I, too, was raised (and disfellowshipped) a JW, and some of what Abrahams tells as factual dogma is not, well, factual. Perhaps she was taking comedic license to make the book funnier, in that case, it fell rather flat. There are plenty of beliefs that the religion harbors that ...more

Thank you Kyria for sharing your life-story with us. That was horrifyingly fascinating, and hilarious. You're writing style was a blast.

I was hoping the book (and your life) would have a successful conclusion. The only success I see is that you wrote a really entertaining book about it. I hope you have found a way to understand the Jehovah Witnesses for what they are: a warped version of Christianity. Same as the Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Islam etc. God didn't give us the Watchtower organ
Matthew Gatheringwater
Because I have a descriptive turn of phrase and memories of a Dickensian childhood, people sometimes suggest I write a book about my early life. I usually reply that this book has already been written—by Jeanette Winterson—and anything I might try to add would be superfluous.

I was, in fact, struggling to make sense of my childhood through fiction when I read Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and promptly gave up. Even if I somehow could write a novel as good as Winterson's, did the world really nee
Nov 15, 2013 Cecelia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I spent a great deal of my Memorial Day weekend reading this book. I purchased it about a month ago, but due to other reading commitments, just got around to reading it last Saturday.

Kyria was raised in The Truth (this is what the Jehovah’s Witnesses call their religion). She became active in the Theocratic Ministry School (when JW’s give skits about preaching door to door and “witnessing” to others) when she was eight, and continued to be active in the re
Kelly Tillman
May 17, 2013 Kelly Tillman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Humorous and serious at the same time, the author shows us her life as a Witness which, despite what many of my Jehovah's Witness friends say or want me to believe, wasn't perfect and at time, was dysfunctional. The author is taught to believe that: birthday parties are bad, you don't celebrate Christmas, when all the sinners are gone, you have a better choice of real estate (I liked when she and a fellow Witness are walking and deciding which house they were going to live in when non-Witnesses ...more
This is a wryly humorous memoir of one young woman's gradual transition from the isolating and restrictive culture of brainwashed superstition to the equally non-mainstream but hugely more supportive culture of New England "slam" poetry. She goes from grudging acceptance of her unhappy parents' lifestyle of desperate fear, manipulation, domestic drama and passive-aggressive alcoholism, through a time of active self-destrution and ill-considered sexual liaisons, to the nomadic basement-dwellers o ...more
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Kyria Abrahams is the author of I'M PERFECT, YOU'RE DOOMED: Tales of a Jehovah's Witness Upbringing (Touchstone, 2009).

Her humor has also been published in Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure (Harper Perennial, 2007) the THE BOOK OF ZINES: Reading From the Fringe. For two years, Kyria Abrahams was a regular columnist for Jest Magazine, where she was featur
More about Kyria Abrahams...

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