Thursday, October 13, 2011

Holy Ghost Girl by Donna Johnson

Holy Ghost Girl by Donna Johnson is a memoir so unbelievable, that if it wasn't non-fiction I don't know if I would have believed it was true. Johnson was only three years old when her mother joined brother David Terrell and his Evangelical tent revivalist movement, a group that tours from city to city preaching in large tents similar to a circus. The circus comparison is apt considering a lot of went on under and surrounding the tent was just as hectic- healings and secret children and cults- and Johnson's family was all part of its inner circle of faith and deception.

Holy Ghost Girl takes place over the sixties and seventies, and Johnson does a pretty good job of telling the story considering she was a kid for most of it. As extravagant and insane as the life of David Terrell is (he's still preaching these days), what I found most interesting was what life was like for Johnson herself. Her own story is the one she is most qualified to tell, and at times I felt she got bogged down by events she couldn't remember or wasn't there for. I appreciate filling in the gaps, but at the same time it left holes where I wanted to know more- mainly how her experiences and very unusual childhood impacted her life later on, a topic that was skimmed over at times. Johnson's writing is clear and easy to read but I often felt an emotional detachment from the story, despite being interested in the premise.

Ultimately, Holy Ghost Girl provides a riveting look into a culture that will be completely unfamiliar to most, and although it wasn't a perfect fit for me as a reader, it certainly has a lot to offer on a controversial and unique topic.     

Release Date: October 13th 2011
Pages: 288
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This review was a part of TLC Book Tours. Click here to read what other tour hosts thought. For the purpose of this review I was provided with a copy of the book which did not require a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.


  1. This sounds like such a fascinating read. Too bad it had gaps, but I really want to read it anyway!

  2. I can't imagine spending my own childhood the way the author did ... wow.

    Thanks for giving this one a chance! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

  3. ReflectionsofabookaholicOctober 18, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    I love the cover. It seems like a perfect fit.


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