Atlas Girl by Emily T Wierenga
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: Baker Books
Publishing Date: June 24, 2014
Disillusioned and yearning for freedom, Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning. Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents' rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else--anywhere else. Her travels took her across Canada, Central America, the United States, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. She had no idea that her faith was waiting for her the whole time--in the place she least expected it.
Poignant and passionate, Atlas Girl is a very personal story of a universal yearning for home and the assurance that we are known, forgiven, and beloved. Readers will find in this memoir a true description of living faith as a two-way pursuit in a world fraught with distraction. Anyone who wrestles with the brokenness we find in the world will love this emotional journey into the arms of the God who heals all wounds
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Buy a Kindle copy today for $9.99 (7/3/14)
"Atlas Girl" is a travel-esque memoir from a girl who carries her feelings deep. A survivor of anorexia (the first bout being from age nine to age thirteen), Emily is still on the run from hurts and herself. She weaves her story making us a very part of the fabric, tucking us in as she travels around Canada, Japan, China, Mexico, and further.
The book itself is laid out in fun style, alternating between the 'Now' of 2007 and her life leading up to that point. Wierenga has written two previous books that focus more on her eating disorder, but here in 'Atlas Girl' it just becomes a part of a larger story. The story follows a common thread, a searching, a yearning to understand God, faith, and the need for unconditional love. Wierenga shares her thoughts and words raw and honest, often in a self-deprecating way.
Let me preface what I'm going to say next by admitting that I felt this way because I could see a lot of this aspect of Emily in myself. Thus, I say it with the utmost kindness: I feel a lot of this book deals with Emily making selfish decisions and learning to finally live beyond herself. In a lot of her early decisions, Emily is thinking about herself, the husband she wants, her future, her choices, all on her quest to find Love. But as she slowly learns to take care of her mother, Emily learns Love is a lot to do with giving, serving, and selflessness.
I've thought on this lately in regards to depression and self. When suffering from depression, people feel they ought to focus on themselves, get better, fix it. But I've come to realize that the Lord doesn't want us to focus on self, but others. Even in these dark moments. We pray for others and God cares for us. We need to trust that He loves and cares for us. Our problems are well taken care of. Focusing on others places our attention on the world and the hurts that we would probably miss out on.
In this way, I truly connected with Emily. I devoured her book, her easy prose writing style. I turned page after page joining in her search for unconditional love. And a lovely bonus? I lived vicariously through her travels around the world. I would recommend this book to all who have struggled with anorexia or depression (very little triggers here!), enjoy prose written travel memoirs, and are searching for unconditional love. I'm rating it with 4.5 Stars and as I continue to think about Wierenga's words, I contemplate adding it to my Lifechanger bookshelf...
Before heading out I wanted to share a few more links with you......
Also, check out the book page HERE for a free ebook and an excerpt of the first two chapters!!
"'Atlas Girl' is both a journal and a journey; a trek of a woman who discovers heartache, happiness, and hope around the globe and a chronicle of the musings and meditations that accompany the blessed, bumpy ride. Emily's tender vulnerability and honest questions point you to the Lord who already knows the final destination. The best part? You will unearth bits of yourself as you tag along for the sacred voyage."
-Karen Ehman, author of LET.IT.GO., Everyday Confetti, and A Life that Says Welcome.