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Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  414 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
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 Austral ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Baker Books (first published June 24th 2014)
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Krista D
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Over the last few years, I've discovered the beauty of a well written memoir. There is something truly powerful about someone sharing the intimate details of their life journey, inner struggles and even their faith walk that inspires and challenges me. I often set the book down at the end feeling like I've made a new friend. Without a doubt this book falls into that category.

Emily weaves together her journey with raw honesty and storytelling skill to keep the reader connected to the story with e
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed because I didn't find what was intimated I would find from this book. First of all, I will comment on style. She has a poetic way of writing, which I usually like, but she doesn't flesh things out. Instead she hints at feelings and major transitions without telling in such a way that I could feel it in myself. She leaves way too much to the reader's imagination. An example: in visiting a Hindu temple she says "They seemed more convinced than any of the church members I had enc ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
ATLAS GIRL, by Emily Wierenga, a biography about the various challenges that she faced in her life and that of her family. I laughed some, teared up some, and was amazed at her openness and sharing. I know that hurting people will benefit from this book, giving them hope, and helping them on their journey to healing.
Ibjoy1953 Hannabass
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Emily Wierenga left her home looking for a like that she wanted, or thought she wanted. Her travels took her to may different places in the world. In searching for the life Emily thought she wanted, she gives vivid details of her new life. She spent time in Brazzaville, Congo, and this was interesting to read about because I have heard a lot about the Congo. She also spent time in Japan, China, the Middle East, but she still couldn’t find what she was really looking for.
Beth Neu
Aug 25, 2014 rated it liked it
First of all, I got this book because of the title: "Atlas Girl..." It took over 100 pages into it until she got out of Canada, so... while she has traveled to and lived in other places it was not what I expected. It is hard to describe what this book is about mostly because Emily wades back and forth between her struggle with anorexia, memories of childhood and helping her mother battle cancer. But it seemed to be more about those things than the places around the world she visited. Second, whi ...more
Jul 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
How disappointing that the author was so narrow minded despite her world travels. She and her husband "mourned" for the people in Japan who were worshipping Buddha. Wow. She is a gifted writer but between her holy rolling and constant crying, it was too much for me. But I admire that she was able to overcome personal obstacles including being brave enough to put her memoir out there.
Lady Jane Grey
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Now that's how you write a memoir!
Regina Gadad
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
With the title of "Atlas Girl" I was hoping to vicariously travel the world without having to fly United. I was disappointed to find this a memoir of the author's travels through her own feelings than the countries she says she visits. The destination she craves is peace within herself and her relationship with family members.

Wierenga's writing reminds me of Ann Voskamp's style. If you were a fan of Voskamp's "1000 Gifts", you might enjoy Wierenga's "Atlas Girl", minus the warmth. Her writing en
Tammy K
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This author was new to me, but I was drawn into her style of writing and straightforward storytelling. I am a sucker for a good memoir that deals with family, faith and redemption, and this book did not disappoint. I so enjoyed the way she seamlessly weaved together her experiences and thoughts on God, family relationships, writing, travel and so much more. It did not all wrap together neatly at the end (as some books do and does not seen true to my experiences in life), which made me appreciate ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Her story was interesting enough to me. It takes a lot for someone to be willing to share such a stiry/testiminy. I probably would have gave 5 stars if the book didn't jump around so much in chronological order.
Gay Idle
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Seriously, this is one of the best books that I had read in 2014!! Beautifully written! Her story is so real, raw, and vulnerable and has you asking your own questions as you trek across continents with Emily in her quest to find the thing that we all long for...
Lorisha A
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well traveled mess...makes for a good book.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
More of a spiritual book. Liked the info on our local area. Not a bad book..
Barbara Hawley
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
An honest, powerful memoir that shows the courage of the author in writing it.
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
*Sigh* Oh dear, I think I may have a second favorite for my usual one-book-of-the-year-that-I-like-to-recommend-to-everyone-I-know. "Atlas Girl" is a moving memoir that reads like an entertaining piece of fiction with all of the stalwart theological fervor you could want. Emily Wierenga brings us through her childhood and adolescence--as a missionary child in Africa and, later, a pastor's daughter in Canada who learned that not eating was something (maybe the only thing) that gave her a sense of ...more
Nora St Laurent
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I’m thankful for a review copy of a book that touched me to the depths of my soul and introduced me to a brave, sensitive and courageous woman, mom and author. This author’s voice is a breath of fresh air. This woman has experienced much in a short time. Emily describes falling into life’s unexpected trenches, what she did when she got there and discovered something when she was there she hadn’t anticipated finding.

“And sometimes it takes disappointments to remember that this world is not our ho
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Not crazy about the title, but I loved this book, and this author!
Kate Motaung
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Years of anorexia. Disillusionment with the church. A grandmother’s suicide. A two-year break-up. A mother with brain cancer. A heartbreaking miscarriage.

Emily Wierenga‘s story is not an easy one.

It’s not easy, and yet she tells it with such grace and gratitude in her new memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look, published by Baker Books.

Emily is an artist, and her gifts shine through as she paints pictures with words in this travel memoir that spans countries and con
Jodi Janz
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Can I rate it six stars out of five?

I loved this memoir. I've never read a memoir before so I wasn't exactly certain what to expect. I was so pleasantly surprised, The power and passion behind Emily T. Wierenga's prodigal story is profound and absolutely amazing. Her raw honesty touched my heart in so many ways. It was a book of aching tears, anger, sweet smiles and quiet reflection - and I felt every one of those on every single page!

What I loved most about Emily's book was her writing. Her bru
"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."

Well... kind of, but not really...

I read Atlas Girl after finishing another 'coming of age'/'young woman in the big wide world' book called 'Green Girl'. These books could not have been more different. Green Girl is a postmodern examinati
Jalynn Patterson
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
About the Book:

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.

Joanne Viola
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am not sure how or when I discovered Emily’s blog. All I know for certain is her writing struck a cord deep in my soul.

Then I read a novel written by her, A Promise In Pieces, which I loved and I was all in – wanting to read anything Emily would write. So I pre-ordered her memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home In The Last Place I Thought To Look and waited a very long time for it to arrive in my mailbox. A very long time.

It was worth the wait!

This is a memoir and so much more. From the first page,
Jessica Higgins
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Emily Wierenga’s raw emotion and honesty looking back on her young life will keep you pulled into her story.

Everyone has a story. This is the story of Emily Wierenga’s life to age thirty-two. Everyone goes through the fire to get where they are, but not everyone pens those stories down. Emily Wierenga shares her story of childhood, anorexia, teaching, writing, and the places that she has been, hence the name Atlas Girl. Every time that she tried to get away to start fresh, there was always some
Given how many of my reading interests this hits, I had really high hopes here. Wierenga grew up as a preacher's kid, living briefly in Congo and Nigeria but spending the bulk of her childhood in her native Canada. As a preteen, she developed anorexia; when she was old enough to leave home she moved just about as far away as she could get, living briefly in Lebanon and South Korea.

The book overview presents it as something of a story of wandering—of travel and trying to figure out what felt like
Rachel Marie
Jun 11, 2014 added it
Shelves: faith
This review first appears on

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 h
Victor Gentile
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Emily T. Wierenga in her new book, “Atlas Girl” published by Baker Books gives us Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look.

From the back cover: 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 three continents in buses, cars, and planes, across mountains and over deep blue seas.

What sh
May 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Two months ago, I read Emily Wierenga's debut novel A Promise in Pieces. After finishing that intense and beautiful WWII Era story, I looked up her personal blog. When I read about her struggle with anorexia and her experience caring for her Mother who had brain cancer, I wished she would write her own story. Little did I know that she already had.
Atlas Girl is Emily Wierenga's memoir, and I am honored to be a Revell Reads Reviewer for it.

This book moved me the same way my favorite songs do...
Joy Lenton
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Some journeys we make are literally life changing and transforming. Here, Emily shares her story with searing honesty and openness, laying bare her family skeletons as they rattle in chains about her feet. The reader journeys with her in distance, space and time, seeing a culture shift here and an emotional shaking up there. We are drawn in to the narrative with her own deeply poetic voice, with the addition of snippets from her mother's journalling to offer a fresh perspective on events.

There i
Jennifer Pickwell
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Every single one of us has a story to tell about how we became who we are and who shaped our lives. Emily T. Wierenga tells her story in her new book Atlas Girl. Emily shares her childhood, family, friendships, and travel in this interesting yet melancholy memoir. While it has not been my favorite read this year, I found this book thoughtful and honest. For more on Emily, I highly encourage you to check out her blog at

In Atlas Girl, Emily Wierenga recalls the details in her l
Sherri Johnson
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Raw and Honest
Atlas Girl – Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look by Emily T. Wierenga is the first memoir I've read in years, and I didn't quite know what to expect at first. Emily writes in an organized manner with chapter headings and well-known quotes that give you an idea of what's coming. I found myself relating to Emily, who is a pastor's daughter and who's caring for her mother with brain cancer. My father was a pastor, so I could understand Emily's pain of feeling like his bes
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What makes a good memoir? 1 5 May 07, 2014 12:44PM  
Where in the world do you find God? 1 2 May 07, 2014 12:39PM  
Where does God show up for you? 1 3 May 07, 2014 12:38PM  
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Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including "Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look" (Baker Books). She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit Find her on Twitter or Facebook.
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“God’s love for us often looks like suffering. It often looks like the silhouette of the cross, when in fact it is the sun beyond that silhouette, rising on the third day.” 4 likes
“I wait for forgiveness to find its place in me. To root its deep, beautiful tendrils within the dirt of my soul because there is no justice in forgiveness. There’s only grace. And grace makes way for peace.” 3 likes
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