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Friday, May 2, 2014

When We Were on Fire

Remember WWJD bracelets? True Love Waits pledges? See You at the Pole events? If so, you may have grown up in the 90's.

While I didn't grow up in an Evangelical household I did grow up in those circles. I had a bracelet, signed a pledge, and probably would have seen you at the pole, had I not been homeschooled. I knew everything that Addie spoke of in the beginning of her book.

What I don't know is...what was the point? I either missed it entirely or there truly isn't one to the book. Don't get me wrong, it was an enjoyable read, but several things stood out for me and bothered me.

First of all, the constant back and forth between first and second person wasn't just confusing but downright annoying. I've never seen a book written this way. When I saw that Addie studied creative nonfiction in college I realized that she was trying too hard to be creative in the writing of this book. It didn't work. Not only that, but at many points Addie was too good of a writer (is that possible?!) and used so many filler paragraphs that seemed more like a descriptive poem than a part of her story. Some descriptions went on and on and on and added no value to the story. Sometimes less really is more. The introduction of swearing halfway through the book didn't seem to fit either.

There wasn't much about Addie's parents or home life in this book. Quite frankly, from what I gathered from the book, is that she became a Jesus freak, not that she grew up in a household like that. She seemed to follow these crowds at school and immerse herself into this lifestyle. She chose this lifestyle herself. 

Her life seems pretty ideal, albeit a bit lonely at times. So all of a sudden when she heads off to college and deems herself "broken" all because of a fairly tame high school breakup you wonder where that comes from.

While I applaud her for her honestly throughout the next several chapters detailing some struggles in life, I felt like she blamed her religious upbringing for them, when they are struggles that people from all walks of life deal with (and aren't even all that bad, really, compared to most).

The therapy sessions at the end of the book are what knocked me off my rocker. Rehashing old boyfriend issues as a cause of your life struggles is so "politically correct".

After finishing the book I'm still confused. Was it a book about how her religion and boyfriend caused her depression as an adult? Or was it just a memoir, showcasing the different stages of life? I, like other reviewers, feel like this is two books in one...the first half which I could relate to greatly, dealing with the 90's "WWJD" movement and then the second half where she deals with marriage, depression, and motherhood; possibly blaming the latter on the first and losing many reads with that conclusion?

I read it in an evening and did find it interesting. I think many 90's kids could relate to the beginning of the book.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

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