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Chasing Eden A Memoir

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  217 ratings  ·  61 reviews

All she wants is her parents' love and a chance to go to school.

Her parents believe God wants them to stay isolated from the world.

It seems their goals are at odds with each other.

As Cherilyn's family moves from town to town, running from bill collectors and becoming more isolated, their housing situation keeps deteriorating until they end up homeless.

When her mother

Kindle Edition, 488 pages
Published August 17th 2019 by Table Rock Press
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Average rating 4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  217 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Lisa Jo
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chasing Eden A Memoir by Cherilyn Christen Clough This story is a memoir of a child trapped in a fundamentalist family, and the damage done by being kept at a distance from all that makes up life. A timely book, and profoundly important, giving voice to the wounds of many thousands raised at the edge of nowhere, who now as adults continue to feel isolated and like they don't belong. This is a book written with so much love for parents who did harm while trying to do the right thing. As a trauma therapist, I will be recommending this book to ...more
Marygrace A.
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an entrancing book. This story is awesome! It is so real. I can picture the houses, and the holes in the walls with the wind coming through - you can feel the chill of the cold nights.

I could also feel the love and warmth from her grandparents. They truly loved the kids despite her father thinking they were the worldly people. The grandparents were loving and kind. They took them in each time shelter was needed - no questions asked. Those times gave some normalcy to her her life,which she h
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn’t put this book down. I kept shaking my head at all the things this girl endured on her way to freedom! Truly inspiring!
What most amazed me about this well-written memoir was the clarity of the child and adolescent voice it was narrated in. Quite frequently, a going-back-into-childhood story will be told in the words and cognition of the matured and knowing author. Cherilyn Clough has managed to keep a child-like simplicity and naivete in her recounted memories of growing up that has the uncanny effect of pulling the reader right back into those tender-- and often tortured--stages with her.

Unlike Clough, I did no
Heather Haigh
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Was written in such an amazing way I couldn’t set it down. Received an advance digital copy from author herself in quartered sections. What courage to write such a memoir and I am honored to have been able to read it and feel so connected and proud of the author thru her unbelievable writing and way with the memoir.
Esther Recinos
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This gripping memoir speaks right to the soul as you walk in Cherie’s shoes, feel with her heart and see through her eyes as she struggles to grow up and find her niche in life. Without the guidance and support that every child needs, she longs for an education and...well, her story is a must read! I love it!
Andrew Dykstra
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
D. H. Lawrence, in his short story “The Rocking Horse Winner,” wrote of Paul, a vulnerable boy who was so haunted and crushed by the burden of his parents financial troubles that he continually, frenziedly rocked on a toy rocking horse. Back and forth he rocked, sometimes all night, trying to divine for his parents the name of a winning racehorse which he dreamed would free his family from their troubles.

Cherilyn Clough’s "Chasing Eden", a coming of age memoir is the first I have read where the
Barbara Womack
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chasing Eden is the poignant story of a young girl’s search for unconditional love and acceptance in a bewildering world full of contradictions.
From the very beginning, the author captures perfectly the voice of the young child and draws you into her life. As the story progresses, you can sense a developing strength of character as that voice matures. Much of this strength comes from what Cherilynn calls her “superpowers” and they will serve her well as she attempts to find her way out of what c
Joyce Burkeen
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Abuse comes in many forms and all affect the receiver deeply. My heart cried out for this child for the hard lessons she learned as she tried to figure out how to be “good enough” to survive this journey her parents were taking them on. I am amazed at the love and respect she has as she shares this memoir. I found myself cheering her on near the end. Cherie’s story affects every nook and cranny of the soul!
Merry Herrmann
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cherilyn drew me into the story in a way I've never been drawn in before. It was like I was right there with her. What she went through as she grew up and somehow managed to stay so strong is amazing to me. What a resilient soul she is! She did the best possible to make her childhood work. I can't wait to read her next book about how she grew after getting away and able to make her own decisions.
Karen Everett
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A touching and true story...

A story of how young girl navigates her way out of a chaotic childhood, to her freedom to be a strong woman. The story hooks you. I hope a sequel comes out soon. I really want to see where her life takes her...
Gerald E.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I’m afraid if you don’t stop obsessing over school, you’re going to become mentally ill.”

Thank you to netgalley who gave me this copy to review in exchange for my own opinion!

This was so good! It’s such a little hidden gem in the book world but I loved it!
I’ve never really read many memoirs before but this read just like a story, I had to keep reminding myself that someone actually went through all that!
It’s told so well & you can just really empathise with the main character - all the injustic
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
This memoir is captivating, gripping your attention from beginning to end. I had a hard time putting it down for any reason. The author's style and skill draw you into each passage creating the impression of being present in each moment with her, possibly reliving aspects of your own childhood. Her parents' quest to find the desired spot to raise their family free from what they perceived as negative influences conflicted with financial resources and job stability, often drawing them away from l ...more
Sharon Esteves
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title ‘Chasing Eden’ conjures up the image of a relentless search for perfection and paradise. Cherilyn pulls no punches in telling her story of a childhood spent doing exactly that. As the oldest of four children born into a non-conventional, secretive, fundamentalist religious family, Cherilyn’s childhood was anything but ordinary or ‘normal’. From the opening paragraph, she takes the reader by the hand and guides us through the minefield of apocalyptic end-of-the-world time bomb scenarios ...more
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cbr11
Disclaimer: I was provided an advance review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I am familiar with parts of Cherilyn Christen Clough's story, because I am a member of an equality in religion Facebook page she helps run. I jumped at the chance to hear her story, and it is remarkable, both for the horrors she survived and for the determination she found in leaving her spiritually and emotionally abusive home.

Clough's life story is not unfamiliar to fans of The Glass Castle, Educated, or
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who is obsessed with memoir, I can say this one stands with the best. Readers will see similarities to the narcissistic fathers in both Educated and The Glass Castle but this in no way makes Cherilyn's story predictable. I was glued to my seat, fingernails dug in, going from tears of frustration and gasps of shock to being so angry that I wanted to throw my iPad across the room. However, and delightfully so, there were also enough laughs and beautiful moments to get me through the sag ...more
Aug 31, 2019 added it
Heartbreaking and hopeful account of growing up off the grid in a fundamentalist family.

Cherilyn's father didn't have a regular job. He had schemes. They didn't usually payoff and her family was poor. Sometimes they had to move in a hurry to stay ahead of the bill collectors (or play "frozen statues" when one knocked on the door). This, combined with her father's religious ideas, meant that her dad kept moving the family, more and more off the grid. They had to be ready for the time of troubles.
Carroll Blair
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this hauntingly beautiful memoir, abuse and neglect are not vehicles for blame or pity. Cherilyn readily gained my trust - as I identified with a precocious toddler whose spirit was cramped but not crushed. The vivid imagery caused me to flinch at harsh conditions and marvel that a spark of sanity survived the confusion of being trapped in a narcissist's web. I held my breath with suspense on this roller-coaster journey, a hard-fought battle for truth and wholeness, and took deep breaths at m ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
Cherie grew up in a home where momma let daddy do the thinking. Daddy was the only one who mattered, and he took full advantage. Cherie learned how to lie, cheat, steal, and hide—to protect her family. Moving constantly to avoid paying creditors, her dreams of a stable home, school, and friends were regularly crushed. Momma and daddy’s promises were as solid as the money promised to the landlord. Despite continuous setbacks, this smart little girl used what she had to make meaning of her life an ...more
Laura McVay
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you combine the writing of a gifted author and the drama of her own compelling story you know you’ve discovered a good read! Chasing Eden, A Memoir is that kind of book.
Holly K
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this book down the first time around. I'm reading it a second time because it's such an inspiring story. I can only imagine what it must have been like for a deeply sensitive, intelligent child with a passion for learning, to grow up in a family who truly didn't understand her, or seem to care that her spirit was being smothered on a daily basis. This is a glimpse into a world where fundamentalism, and narcissism meet. I felt like I was there, listening, and watching as Cherilyn n ...more
Brooke Bigelow
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a captivating telling of Cherie’s childhood. Reading this book is like hearing the author tell her story in person. As a beta reader I received advance copy of the book in quarters. I anticipated each section and couldn’t put it down.

Written in such a way that the reader can feel each scene as if you were right there experiencing it with the writer. My heart ached as Cherie seeks her parents love and is denied it time and time again unless she holds to their standard. She is held b
Janet Brock
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Riveting! Funny and simultaneously horrifying! The author has painted a vivid picture of a childhood spent trapped physically and mentally in a fundamentalist family and her efforts to find normalcy. A must-read for anyone who has struggled with religious abuse or wants to help others who have struggled with religious abuse. But beyond these themes, the author is also a master storyteller. You will not be disappointed!
Karen Rohlf
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not all childhoods are great!

I have always known that I had an awesome childhood but after reading Chasing Eden a Memoir I appreciate my parents and childhood even more. It is an eye opener when reading this book what we all take for granted and how resilient children can be but at what cost.
I think this is a great book for anyone to read both privileged and people with not so great back grounds.
Karina Bresla
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about the power of hope. While trapped in its pages, I laughed, cried, and dreamt too. I loved its genuine plot, rich descriptions, and lovable characters. It’s one of those books you feel sad about finishing. It’s definitely a fascinating book waiting to be discovered. Chasing Eden will captivate you and inspire you all the way through!
Kelly Long
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, netgalley
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
This memoir about a young girl growing up in a fundamentalist family is hard to put down. The resilience of Cherilyn and her siblings is amazing. You can't help but cheer her on in her quest for live like "normal" families and eventually find her freedom.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many people have buckled and never escaped the kind of total control of narcissistic parents and fear based dogma that Cherilyn faced. Her story is told with love and is inspiring to us all.
I urge you to read it.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
This book tells the remarkable story of a girl who was raised in a overly religious (the basic religion was male chauvinism with Christian overtones) family by sociopathic and fairly insane parents. The writing isn't too good, but what's most incredible is how much psychological abuse the author took from her father. It's amazing to me that she lasted into adulthood after the continuous trauma that she endured growing up.
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." This partial quote from C.S. Lewis came to mind while reading "Chasing Eden: A Memoir," a well-written book which transports the reader to experience life in a household with fundamentalist, ultra-rigid parents, and the numerous dichotomies that could have broken the author's developing mind and destroyed her love for God.

Cherie walks us through her childhood, and we
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Cherilyn Christen Clough wholeheartedly believes no matter what has happened to us in the past, we can find our healing in the present. She’s the author of the Little Red Survivor blog, which has helped thousands of people negotiate their way through narcissistic and religious abuse. Her childhood memoir CHASING EDEN is about her quest for physical freedom.

She helps to keep Oregon weird by making

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