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God's Callgirl

2.81  ·  Rating details ·  614 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Traumatised by a terrible event in her childhood, Carla van Raay entered a convent at the age of eighteen. Expecting to find understanding and inner peace amongst her fellow nuns, she instead became trapped in a web of cruel regulations that drove her to the brink of insanity. Finally released from her vows, she escaped back into the outside world even more damaged than sh ...more
Paperback, 441 pages
Published July 6th 2006 by Ebury Press (first published January 1st 2004)
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2.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  614 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Mar 03, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-story
I am not quite sure how to rate this book.
How can I say that I found it a dreadful story, when it is actually someone’s real life?
let’s start by saying that I found it really hard to believe that the author could recall memories from when she was only 2 or 3 years old. Very detailed memories indeed.... Then I am not talking about the abuse of her father. But about what her mother said when she was two and what visitors came and what they wore etc.
During the whole book there was not one moment I
I've had a fascination with nuns ever since I was young, when my Barbie dolls would regularly make vows to God and then break them in favour of a white lace wedding to Ken. The Nun's Story still makes me cry (and I can't decide whether I prefer the book to the movie -- they're both compelling in their own ways). I even wrote two chapters of a novel about a twentysomething nun who leaves her order under mysterious circumstances. When I went to college -- an all-female, Catholic college run by nun ...more
Oct 12, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mish by: Helen
This would have to be the worst memoir I have ever read and poorly written. In the beginning I sympathised with Carla. To be the victim of sexual abuse by the hands of a family member is appalling and can leave mental scaring. But I could not come to terms with her actions later in life as a prostitute. To set up a parlour in the same house your daughters are living in, I think is disgusting. She became self obsessed towards the end and I don’t think highly of her as a parent.

So no…I would not r
Michelle O'flynn
Jun 16, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: peole who experienced catholic boarding school
“GOD’S CALLGIRL” by Carla Van Raay (non-fiction)

During World War 2, Carla’s early childhood experiences in a small town in Holland revolved around her family struggles and Catholic upbringing that framed how one very young girl would perceive her place in the world controlled by adults and the Church.

A terrible secret, a busy and seemingly unsympathetic mother, and a child’s inner conflicts about how she viewed the contradictions of her understanding of Church and God, moulded Carla as she grew
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was at times tedious and hard to get through, though I'm glad I read it. It was an in depth look at a very unusual life. I have to confess that I often didn't like Carla very much. I did sympathize with her troubles in the convent, and it was interesting to read about how she internalized the abuse she received at the hands of her father. I liked the insight into being a nun in the 1950s.

But the book got off track when she became a prostitute. I felt she engaged in a lot of self-decept
Bex Smith
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carla Van Raay is an interesting woman who led a perfectly imperfect life. The book serves as a memoir that chronicles her life from childhood, and the sexual abuse she experienced, to her time in a convent and onwards to her life as a prostitute and later finding self acceptance.

She makes some profound statements and whilst her story is so different from my short life so far I felt that our emotional journeys have in some way shared similarities. This book made me face some of my own internal v
Oct 25, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I brought this book last year as one of my holiday reads. Usually I get through a good book in 5 - 10 days but I have only just finished this one! Let me explain briefly why!
The book starts off okay - in fact the first third of the book was quite good detailing Carla van Raay's childhood and her reasons for entering the convent (nothing out of this world though - hardly page-turning).
The second third of the book dragged terribly. I expected it to be eye-opening as far as revealing the in's and
Angelique Simonsen
jeepers what a life! from abused to a nun and then a married woman to a prostitute. I'm glad she managed to heal as well as she did. however I did cringe through some of her retelling as I wondered how she managed to skip over her husband's feelings around her choices
Alana Khan
May 31, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Despite my sympathies for what she endured as a child, I can't help but find the author an awful woman. I struggled to comprehend the wrong doing of any nuns or convents. She speaks about her children as though they are just objects. Honestly, I get more excited talking about crochet than she does about her children. And to top it off, she is genuinely baffled that people are upset with her for sleeping with their husbands. Being in need of some serious help does not excuse such appalling behavi ...more
Stevie Lou
Jun 21, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-nf
A friend told me about this book and at first description I was keen to read it, it sounded like a really interesting story right up my alley; a woman's disillusionment and rejection of faith and Christian morals. However a short while in and I was already disappointed. Carla Van Raay's book seems determined to cash in on the "virgin turned whore" attraction. Despite a significant portion of the book discussing the oppressive institution of the Catholic church and the cruel inner-working's of th ...more
Claire Botman
(from my bookcrossing)
An interesting and compelling story. Having Dutch Catholics in my immediate family and living in Perth made it all the more riveting. I enjoyed the book but I have to admit I found the author rather self absorbed, but then I guess it is a memoir. It seemed to me to be a story of extreme repression and extreme indulgence (both sexual excess and excessive soul searching). Her father ruined her life but he was a victim of circumstances himself. Entering the convent did nothing
Book Bazaar
I was not overly fond of this book. I don't read a lot of memoirs and this one really was a good example of why. When you give a plot sumary this is a hugely eventful life, but it often came across as self-indulgent and I didn't often sympathise with the protagonist.

That said, many in my bookclub disagreed! We had a great evening of discussion and many felt that it was an engaging tale and that her behaviour was easily understood after all that she had been through.

The scores were: 0/7/5/5/5/7/7
Dec 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Finally finished this. It got a bit tedious towards the end but all in all an interesting read. Bit uncomfortable reading the rude bits on the train sometimes but at the same time it is quite funny to think someone might be reading over your shoulder. Having said that though I always seem to get the people that haven't got the intelligence to carry tissues when their nose is running sitting next to me so it's doubtful they can read well enough to take any notice of my book.
Anne L.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! It's amazing that van Raay can remember every line and every hateful look in the eyes of nearly everyone in her life with whom she had problems (which is nearly everyone), yet she dismisses her own foibles in a brief line or so. She blithely throws out lines like "But it was my choice!" to give the idea that she's taking responsibility for her own actions, but she doesn't really believe it, and neither does the reader. Don't bother with this one.
Aug 30, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The title to this autobiography is enticing. The "author" may have had a great story to tell however she failed to deliver anything of substance. It is tedious and has no structure. One boring mess of read. If possible would give it half a star
Jul 10, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Currently reading for our Book Club.


An interesting story, but a very confusing writer and one who I did not have much sympathy for despite her troubled life. Not one I'd recommend.
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
At times interesting, tedious at others and it was hard to get through. I probably should have ditched it many times but ploughed on and have completed it. Not that well written either, making the story a bit disjointed.
Jan 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
Not sure I believe a word of this tripe. It smacks of 'what terrible life story can I say I've suffered' to make gullible people pay to read it!

True or not this woman is totally despicable.

Don't waste your money or time.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australian
The bit where she became a prostitute happened so quickly - I still don't understand how it happened. She didn't explain this aspect of her life very well.
John Wilson
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I did not condemn the author for her life, nor the decisions she made. But I did wonder a lot about how consciously informed she was about the steps she had taken when she made them and how they were evaluated later on. It seems a lot of her life was understood in a kind of late-awakening retrospect that demonstrates carelessness and a lack of foresight or enquiry even as a young woman. But, wow! what a set of discoveries she made.

Like many books about convent life, this one echoes the same sor
The only other work I have read by a nun was an Irish sister who worked in India with Mother Theresa but left somewhat disillusioned by the discrete role of carrying the donations for her. This story is quite different. As a young girl Carla migrated from Holland to Australia and spent a number of years living on school grounds where her father worked, she and her siblings schooled elsewhere of the same faith. During this time she feels compelled to become a nun, which finds her shifting across ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Throughout the book, my only reaction was "Wait, what?"

My sympathies to the memoir's author, Carla Van Raay who endured sexual abuse as a child by her own family member. The first part of the book is very convincing as she remembers the trauma that she went through during her childhood. Then she joins the convent with mere innocence. Later, illustrating her spiritual life, self-discovering phase and revealing wrongdoings behind the convent's closed gates. The third part where we see Carla's demi
Maree Kimberley
I'm not really sure what to say about this book. I think I kept reading because I thought, eventually, this woman has to wise up and realise she's spent her life lying to herself. Spoiler alert: she never did. She's a misfit but one with a complete lack of self-awareness. If you're looking for a perfect example of how people justify bad life decisions to themselves with a level of naivety that's off the charts, here's where you'll find it. I hope she's found some inner peace in her later years, ...more
Katie Roy
I found the first part of the book relating to her nunnery life very over detailed and I felt more editing was needed. I also felt that the section on being a call girl was very long. I found the final third of the book, when she reflects on her life and tries to come to terms with her abuse, was more moving and meaningful. The last few pages on her father were touching. I felt the book centred all the time on her. I wondered about her children and the impact on them. She seemed to brush over th ...more
This is the true memoir of Carla van Raay, a Dutch girl who emigrated to Australian in the 1950's. born to a very Catholic family, Carla's childhood was rife with hardship and guilt. Abused by her father, Carla felt that she was inherently evil, probably like most Catholics of that era. she was essentially made to feel useless and doom yo fail at everything she did in life. This was not helped by her being a nun at the age of 18. The psychological abuse continued under the guise of religious lif ...more
S. Shinta
Jul 06, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hikmah, memoir
Controversial title! Even this is a very big book for a memoir, we won't get bored reading it.

Carla has experienced sexual abuse when she was a kid, sadly, by her own father. Since then she developed huge curiosity in sex also became psychologically restless and confused. Becoming a nun didn't help at all. She sought for answer but didn't find one. She wished for peace at heart but didn't get one.

She then decided to quit. And walked in a very opposite road. She became a prostitute. At first sh
Jul 16, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light-reading
Dutch catholic girl emigrates with family to Australia. She becomes a nun, a vocation which doesn't suit her disposition. She quits the orders, marries and has children, divorces and ends up happily working as a prostitute for want of other skills (the life of a nun not exactly preparing one for the outside world!)

The story itself seemed fascinating but there was something about the author that didn't quite gel with me. I found a lot of the ideas and thoughts expressed in the book rather repetet
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written..I was intrigued by the custom of vow of ' obedience' taken in religious orders and how egocentric people in authority misuse it under the cover of God's will. Also how religious passion completely veils a person's common sense to understand the difference between righteousness and blind obedience of superiors in phantom promise of heaven. Is not it the same strategy they use in terrorist groups? Misuse naive young impressionable minds to serve their selfish motives..
A bit to
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book overall. I thought that it was a very interesting autobiography about a life we rarely hear much about; that of a nun. I found her recount to be raw and honest and it explored all aspects of her life from her upbringing and experiences of sexual abuse to her eventual joining of the convent to her later life as a prostitute. It detailed her marriages and relationships and provided a well rounded story to fully understand her life and her decisions. A different autobiography th ...more
Nov 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story was ok. I felt for the author in the first and second part of the book and understood the quest to find herself in the 3rd part but was not left with any huge amount of sympathy regardless of the difficulties she faced. The quality of the writing seemed to deteriorate towards the last third of the book. I am not a spiritual person by any means and the whole navel gazing paying healers, shamans, girus to help you realise that you need to get over yourself makes for very boring reading.
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