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Not of My Making Perfect Paperback – June 1, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This in-depth, honest book provides interesting insight into the collective mindset of many churches. ... How Dr. Jones finally found God and His place for her is a timely, vital read. --The Mindquest Review of Books, Winter, 2008

... well written memoir ... clearly shows how neglect and abuse in childhood affects one even well into adulthood. --Connie Harris, TCM Reviews, November 2008

... well written memoir ... clearly shows how neglect and abuse in childhood affects one even well into adulthood. --Connie Harris, TCM Reviews, November 2008

About the Author

In the late 1990's Margaret Jones was the victim of bullying and spiritual abuse in her church community. She sought help from a therapist but was so overcome with anxiety she couldn t talk. Searching for a way to communicate with her therapist she recalled how she use to write in a spiral bound notebook when she was in her late teens. Bullied by other high school students she withdrew and like Anne Frank she imagined she was writing to a close friend. She used her journal to work through the abuse, neglect and rejection she suffered at home and at school. After she was dechurched writing once again became a central part of her recovery. Later she would use her journal and letters to write her memoir about being emotionally abused and bullied in mainline churches. When she was an undergraduate Dr. Jones had considered a writing career but when a creative writing instructor disparaged her work she switched majors. Dr. Jones earned a bachelor's degree in women's studies and psychology from Richmond College, now the College of Staten Island. After marrying and giving birth to two children, she entered graduate school. She earned a doctorate in psychology from Hofstra University in 1986. Along with her husband Dr. Jones owns a thriving private practice in New England. As a survivor of abuse and neglect she has a special affinity for working with individuals who have been sexually, physically and emotionally abused. Believing all individuals regardless of what problems they are experiencing know what is best for them, she seeks to build upon her clients strengths and assist them in finding solutions to their own problems.
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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Pluck Press (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098014910X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980149104
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,689,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Perfect Paperback
Dr. Jones' candor and transparency is inspiring and empowering. Her openness about the internal turmoil brought on by trauma (within what should be a place of healing) and her honesty about her own struggles is moving and validating.

The book wasn't easy for me to read. I realize one reason for that is because it was painful to read, stunningly painful. As I read, I would find myself getting tense and uncomfortable. I found myself wanting the author to walk away from all of it. I found myself wondering if I had walked away from my particular circumstances too soon, wondering if I had tried hard enough...should I try again. I also found validation and more courage in my own voice.

I can't say that I completely know how Margaret felt; I don't know if we ever know exactly how another feels. However I do relate with her circumstances and I can say she put into words brilliantly, compassionately, and authentically the soul wrenching one wrestles with when one's being, one's trust, and one's core is shattered...the emotions, thoughts, self-doubt, self-hatred, vacillation, distrust, hope, confusion, shame, desperation, complexity, determination, responsibility, blame, anger, and all the 'stuff' in between.

It seems she shows every angle of endeavoring to right a situation, of trying to understand what happened. In so doing, she shares lots of detail that some readers may find tedious. Yet, it is those details that convey how very entangled social groups can become. Relaying those details helped me, giving myself more permission so to speak, to continue to untangle and understand my own toxic group experiences.

I was thrilled when I read the final chapter, "Breaking the Silence." I wanted to jump up and down like a cheerleader. Yes! Yes! Yes!
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Format: Perfect Paperback
Dr. Jones has written an intensely personal - yet I suspect quite universal - memoir of her experiences with bullying and peer pressure. Robbed of her childhood voice by abusive, neglectful parents, she was easy prey for neighborhood bullies, and grown-up pedophiles, as well.

Later, even as an adult and practicing psychologist, she found herself again victimized by her fellow congregants - and ministers! - at not just one, but three churches. When the peers in these cases couldn't coerce Jones to apply her "rubber stamp" to their status quo, their keeping up of appearances, they sought to deny her voice through systematically blacklisting - literally shunning, which one might have thought died in the 19th century, or only lived on in primitive societies - in order to marginalize and block her from worship at another church. Bullies grow up and change tactics, but they remain bullies. These events threatened Jones' hard won mental health when they triggered the old childhood trauma, the feelings of isolation, of not being good enough.

This is not a scholarly treatise on human behavior, as one might expect from a Ph.D., but a well-written chronicle of events that pulls us in and compels us to turn the pages. Scenes are depicted, characters are located, and the action propels the reader through the aptly titled chapters. Readers will be challenged, when the scene changes to the morning of September 11, 2001 and Jones learns of the attacks - told mostly in dialog - not to have an emotional flashback to their own September 11 morning. In following the story we know it's coming, but it ambushes us anyway.

Here is a courageous story, told well. It's the account of a woman who refused to be silenced. It's that one woman's story, but I believe she speaks for countless others.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
As a reviewer on Amazon, I am often asked if I'll read books by new or self-published authors. While I admire the courage it takes to ask, and the discipline to complete a book, I don't have the time to facilitate this in most cases. When I received a request to review "Not of My Making," however, I read the author's bio and felt compelled to give this a shot.

"Not of My Making" is told in a no-frills, concise, and clean style. It's easy to follow, and the honesty that the author brings to the page is much needed in church circles, particularly when it comes to conflict resolution. When it comes to her own suffering as a child, she doesn't wallow in too much detail, but enough to get her point across. On the other hand, as the narrative moves on, she goes into great detail about her conflicts at different churches. My own father was a minister and made some errors that caused rifts in the congregation and our family. Having been in such quagmires, I could sympathize with some of the issues and feelings expressed in this book, and yet I felt at times that it went beyond what was necessary with dates, locations, emails, and other minutiae. The narrative was robbed of much of its energy, and it reminded me of someone picking at scabs on healing wounds.

This is not a clinical approach to the subjects of abuse--whether spiritual, emotional, or physical. It's one woman's brave and forthright attempt to deal with her own frustrations with church, God, and those who call themselves God's people. She makes clear that she does not believe in Jesus as a personal savior, and for me this was somewhat confusing. By denying God's effort to "walk among us," she seems to choose the idea of a noble yet distant deity--the bane of much that passes as religion.
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