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Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical
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Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  181 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Evangelicals are supposed to be experts at telling their story. From an early age you are expected to have a testimony, a story of how God saved you from a life of sin and sadness and gave you a new life of joy and gladness. What happens if you don't have such a testimony? What if your story just doesn't fit the before-and-after mold? What are you supposed to do if your vo ...more
Paperback, 238 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Cascade Books (first published 2009)
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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  181 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Sep 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to understand the experiences of 25-35yo women who grew up in evangelicalism
Recommended to Kristen by: the internet monk, my pastor
I read Jesus Girls with my pastor and a few friends, and gathered with them to talk about what it means to grow up evangelical and a woman. For me, this book brought about a great deal of nostalgic memories from bouncing around the different streams of evangelicalism as a child. The stories rang true to my experiences and the ones of my peers. One of the things that struck me was how many of the authors found refuge in more liturgical churches as adults. Also, how messed up messages of sexuality ...more
Bridget Jack Jeffries
Nov 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
 The title made me think that the authors intended to spend most of their pages complaining about the treatment of women in evangelical Christianity, a “Festivus: Airing of Grievances” for evangelical and post-evangelical women. Here, I thought, I would find tales of heartache over bad teachings on submission, being silent in church, and hyper-modesty. Here attention would be given to how overwhelmingly androcentric evangelical thought, worship and life can be and how that can make women feel ma ...more
Sarah Rosenberger
Dec 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, religion
These days, the word 'evangelical' often has a negative connotation, bringing to mind a mass of brainwashed believers. This book balances that reductive view of Christianity by looking at 22 women who were raised in evangelical churches, some of whom eventually left, others who stayed, but all of whom have stories to share. As with any multi-author collection, some of the essays are much better than others, but on the whole, this is a fascinating look at growing up Christian.

There are plenty of
Apr 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
We need more books like this: Testimonies about personal faith that are as honest about difficulties and doubts as they are about insight and inspiration. Kudos to editor Hannah Notess who gathered these frank accounts. This book would make an excellent gift to any high-school or college-aged young woman who is exploring issues of faith. It's not a book that preaches at you; it's a book that kindles questions and emboldens the reader to investigate those questions with confidence.
Karissa Sorrell
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved the concept of this book. After years of growing up in the evangelical world that required a fancy, I-came-to-Jesus testimony, all of these girls write their un-testimonies. Their stories of confusion, doubt, discomfort, and challenged faith. A lot of these stories are un-stories. They don't have a beginning, middle, and end. There's not a story arc. They are just moments. Moments in these girls' lives when they started to unravel all the cliches that had been given them. Moments of wres ...more
The first 2/3 of this book was saddening to me; the last third was what I expected from the entire book; as a whole I love how it made me think deeper about my own experiences.

A variety of women share experiences about growing up 'evangelical' and where they've traveled spiritually since. Having a solid grasp on 'growing up female and evangelical', I was surprised and saddened by overwhelming sense of negativity toward the experience.

I appreciated the honesty of each voice represented. I left
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book, and I didn't agree with everything in it (there are few books where this is the case) but I loved this collection. It was like being in a small group of women in their 20s, 30s and 40s. So many times I thought: I've lived that. It reminded me that I am not the only one who has had some of the experiences I've had, and also that there are other experiences out there that I have little to no awareness of. I'm glad I read this. It challenged me.
Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
4.5....So close to 5 stars for me. However, as is typical in anthologies, the stories were uneven for me. Some, especially the first two, I loved! I totally identified with them, I even felt like they could have been written about my childhood/adolescence. This is a must read for any female that grew up evangelical.
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
22 women share their “untestimonies” -- authentic accounts of their evangelical upbringing. Some have kept their faith, some have not. They reflect back on the awkwardness and deficiencies in their church youth subcultures, with an adult perspective that was either not understood or not allowed when young.
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religon
Fascinating book about women growing up in an Evangelical church. Some of the stories are heart breaking, some are filled with hope and others leave you hanging... wondering what will happen next in these women's lives. It gave me some ideas on what to talk to my daughter about as we navigate church, life and God together.
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I really fascinating collection. Some others well-written, others not so much. Helpful overall in processing my evangelical/fundamentalist upbringing.
Sep 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable - great range of perspectives and final outcomes. The opposite of trite.
I found this book of essays fairly compelling. The writers are all women in their 20's and 30's who grew up in or became Evangelical Christians. They are women who are still in the church and who have left the church. Their experiences vary widely and enable the reader to see an interesting cross section of a religion where women's voices are all too frequently absent.

That said, as with any collection of work, stories varied in their appeal to me in appeal. While giving us voices, it is also not
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essay, kindle, memoir, religion
So many well-written essays. Very interesting, at times funny, at times sad. Full of personal insight.
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it
The tone was more negative than I expected. Includes some really great stories, though. Loved Melanie's, of course.
Oct 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
A collection of essays on various topics by women who grew up in evangelical churches. Very interesting and thought-provoking!
Laura Howard
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Don’t judge this book by its cover, that’s for sure. Let’s be real. To a tired-of-evangelicalism mind, this book likely looks stupid. (It does to mine.) But this book is full of the stories of church-raised women who now have all sorts of relationships to those churches. Some of these stories end with gladness. Some end with confusion. Some end with bitterness. Some end with faithlessness.

Some of these stories are incredibly written. Some of these stories are hard-to-get-through in a not-so-goo
This was an excellent collection of essays. Very relatable all around. I put off reading it because I went into it thinking it would be a little heavy-handed and negative, but the women recounting their experiences were as varied in their feelings and responses to being Christian family kids as their stories were.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I am most certainly the bullseye of the target audience for this, but I'm disappointed. The vast majority of the pieces are unremarkable, only a couple of standouts in 20+ essays. But bonus, it's December 31 and I've finished my Read Harder challenge!
Linda Gaines
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought some of these stories would be a little different. Most of the young women are still in churches.
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I chose this book hoping that I would be able to relate to the young women that shared their short stories about their upbringing, but more often than not I didn't end up finding that here. There were about two stories out of the twenty two that I really liked, but everybody else's writing was very mediocre and just "blah" in general and I'm really glad to be done so I can move onto something else.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found myself nodding and chuckling throughout just about all of these essays, as they could nearly all have been written about me and my experience from childhood into adulthood. Despite none of the authors (as far as I can tell from their bios) identifying as part of the exact church into which I was born, I found myself identifying with many of their feelings, postulations, and experiences.

Reading this collection made me feel as though I was listening to the voices of my friends, my sisters
Danielle Routh
Nov 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Rating a book of essays is difficult--some work for me; others don't. Some authors write genuinely, and others strive too hard for ingenuity. Overall, though, I enjoyed this collection, even though it focused less on evangelicalism in the light of feminism as I originally thought it would. It definitely brought back memories.
Gina Dalfonzo
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting and thought-provoking read. I had some major disagreements with some of the authors about various issues, but on the whole I appreciated the book and what it was trying to do.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Twenty-two different women with a wide variety of writing. My favourites were heart-breaking and/or hilarious.
Brenda Thacker
rated it it was amazing
Dec 25, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jun 06, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Jun 29, 2010
rated it liked it
Jan 20, 2015
Diane Harris
rated it it was ok
Jan 19, 2017
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Hannah Faith Notess is a poet, editor, web developer, and the author of The Multitude, winner of the Michael Waters Poetry Prize from Southern Indiana Review Press. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Her writing has appeared in The Christian Century, Crab Orchard Review, and Slate, among other journals.