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Holy Roller: Growing up in the Church of Knock down, Drag out;: Or, How I Quit Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus: a Childhood Memoir Hardcover – October 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Drawn from memories of her childhood, the central stories concern revolve around a struggle in the family's church--a struggle that leaves an opening for the so-called Rev. Dynamite, who steps in with a call to repentence. Unfortunately, the Reverend's church is of the "Written In Heaven" variety, a phrase that usually denotes snake handling; when he is bounced out of one church, he sets up his own on the edge of a misquito-ridden swamp. At the same time, one shrimper has been killed and another has gone missing; not only does Diane become involved in the search for the killer, she also gets involved with the snake handlers too.
It may be difficult for mainstream Christians and Americans to believe that such sects exist, but they do indeed--and while Wilson doesn't attack them per se, neither does she make them seem less unsavory than they actually are, laying it on the line in no uncertain terms. As for the murder, it proves a largely unresolveable affair, but the pleasure is in the journey and the way Wilson writes it. Recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
This is a book that requires you to sit back with a glass of tea, turn off your brain, and just enjoy. There aren't deep revelations here. Wilson's childhood can be described as chaotic, but filled with love. Her relationship with Chief, her paternal grandfather, is touching, and the family members, neighbors, visiting missionaries, and shrimpers that populate her memories are interesting and somewhat crazy and somehow believable.
Wilson introduces readers unfamiliar with the holy rollin' life to the wonders of speaking in tongues, rogue snake handlers, and people whose faith is unshakable even in the face of contrary "evidence." The sinners sin big and the believers look for miracles. This is a fun, touching little book, and although there are no deep secrets revealed, I enjoyed reading about Wilson's experiences in her church and community and especially within her unique family. I do have to say that I wish Anthony Perkins would pop up and let us know what he thinks of his place in this story. I think he'd be pleased.
"Holy Roller" is populated by a set of hilarious characters straight out of central casting and reflects the hardscrabble existence of blue collar folks struggling to make a living, while at the same time attempting to give meaning and purpose to their lives in the larger world and cosmos. Diane's narrative is a window into a world of Americana 50 years ago - of a little girl trying to make sense of hard working, hard loving, hard drinking and hard worshipping family and extended relatives rooted (or not) in a Biblical tradition of black/white, good/bad, salvation/damnation, world/heaven and Jesus and the Devil.
"Jesus had found my hidey-holes so I slid to the floor and laid my head flat against the picture-show chair and the tears welled from my eyes and pasted my face to its red oily surface. I could taste the salt in my mouth. Then God or Jesus or, I don't know, maybe the Holy Ghost poured me into a little heap of useless powder on the floor and warned me if I moved an inch without getting myself born again, he would blow me into a fiery furnace. The time was now. The time was now. Nine years old don't mean nothing to God."
The message contained for me in Diane Wilson's rollicking memoir of magical realism is that of inclusivity and interconnectedness.Read more ›
I took to it.
Does the book "go" anywhere? I suppose not. A memoir of my life wouldn't "go" anywhere either, nor would those of the people I love most in my life, but they would be full of laugh-out-loud moments just like Holy Roller.
So many of the crazy characters in Holy Roller remind me of the family and friends I grew up with in New Orleans and its environs. As I giggled my way through the book, it felt so familiar... I KNOW these people! I read several excerpts to my husband - a fellow Gulf Coast southerner - and he felt the same way.
I grew up in a small town outside of New Orleans and went to a church very similar to the Church of Jesus Loves You. I *remember* that revivalist... I wanted to be a missionary, too, and I knew so many crazy grannies who sent every dime to far-away evangelists and hoped for the Rapture of the Saints.
Perhaps nostalgia is to blame but I really like this book.
If you're looking for an in-depth discussion of Pentecostalism, this book isn't for you. If you want a fun and often poignant peek into the lives of a random Gulf Coast family of shrimpers... it is.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gather the likes of Garrison Keillor, Molly Ivins, Clyde Edgerton, Mark Twain, and the next evangelical bible-thumping missionary who appears at your door--and you'll have Diane... Read morePublished on March 16, 2010 by Betty Cloer Wallace (TUCKASEEGEE CHRONICLES)
Coming from a background somewhat similar to the author's, I expected to identify with her, or certainly with the situations included. Read morePublished on April 27, 2009 by Mary Ann
At first you think that Diane Wilson is trying to write from the perspective of the young girl that she once was. Read morePublished on March 26, 2009 by Tim Lieder
I've tried to read this book. Three times, in fact. But I can't go on.
Wilson has intentionally made this story chaotic, telling a story of chaotic lives in a chaotic... Read more
Holy Roller is shrimp boat captain Diane Wilson's follow up to her 2005 memoir, An Unreasonable Woman. Read morePublished on December 21, 2008 by Lynda Lippin
Imagine a book that squeeeEEE daddle diddly danced all around, BAM! This way and that, like a mynah bird in a bubblegum tree, BAM! Read morePublished on December 18, 2008 by Ernest Friedman-Hill
This tale depicts moments in time in the childhood of an activist. She describes a fundamentalist upbringing in rural Texas, set against a backdrop of the shrimper lifestyle. Read morePublished on December 7, 2008 by Laurel-Rain Snow
Diane Wilson's irreverent memoir takes off at breakneck pace from chapter one. The pace is, in fact, always breakneck and this works very well -- sometimes. Read morePublished on November 18, 2008 by llscribe
This memoir by Diane Wilson isn't exactly an experience I would choose to pass on to many people that I know. Read morePublished on November 18, 2008 by V. Marshall