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Christian fundamentalism has always been an obliging source of cultural caricature. Believers in the literal truth of the Christian Scriptures strike many a secular modern as delusional, censorious and often dangerously undemocratic souls―whether they're the querulous anti-intellectual yahoos of 'Inherit the Wind' or the home audiences who throng to the televisual gospel of 'The 700 Club.'… Carolyn Briggs's straightforward, vividly written and moving account of her adult life as a fundamentalist convert goes a long way toward dislodging such stereotypes. (Washington Post Book World)
Sincere and humble. An archetype of the female story in which there is an awakening, usually in a woman's late 30s or 40s, when she realizes she is trapped in a script that was written by someone else. (San Francisco Chronicle)
What makes This Dark World an exceptional book is that as clear-eyed as Briggs is about her experience (she was a deeply religious Christian for more than 20 years), she also fully understands the ways in which her religion benefited and enriched her. Anyone can reject true believers as mindless Bible thumpers, but Briggs never takes that route; her hard-earned sophistication about spiritual matters isn't hollow. (Salon)
So what do you do with yourself when you've dedicated your life to Jesus at 18, and then, 20 years later, find that a life dedicated to the Lord is not all it's cracked up to be? That's the question Carolyn Briggs attempts to answer in her elegant memoir, This Dark World. It is a rare portrait from the vantage point of the believer, and Briggs unflinchingly documents her faith―in its first bloom, when she finds God―and then her growing disillusionment. (Los Angeles Times)
Briggs's memoir is a riveting page-turner that rings emotionally true, as well as a brave contribution to a growing literature that tells the extraordinary stories of supposedly ordinary women. (Publishers Weekly)
Carolyn S. Briggs is associate professor of English at Marshalltown Community College in Marshalltown, Iowa. She adapted her memoir into the screenplay Higher Ground.