Book Review: When We Were on Fire

Mostly this blog is about sewing, but I’ve gotten the opportunity to blog for some free books. Since reading has been a love of mine from a young age, I could hardly pass up the opportunity. If this isn’t your thing, please feel free to skip this. I’ll return to sewing related topics in my next post. 🙂

The book When We Were on Fire is the memoirs of Addie Zierman during her journey through religious disillusionment. She was an on-fire youth, but had her heart broken as she grew up. The consequences of her broken heart led to destructive behaviors and questioning of what she’d believed so firmly before. She ends her book with her steps toward healing and return to her faith, however tentative.

Going into this, I was aware it was memoirs, but I anticipated it to be slightly more theological than it ended up being. This was a very personal story of pain and learning and growing. The author switched between first and second person narrative as a way to draw the reader in and further the story. In general, first person was used to demonstrate an event that the author wanted to highlight, while second person showed the passing of time and the changing of her character between events. At first this threw me a little, but once I got into the pattern, I found it very helpful. While I have much more in common with the author than not, the book was so personal that at times I struggled to relate. The switching helped the story keep moving and helped me feel connected even when she was doing or saying things that I didn’t really understand her reasons.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I wouldn’t say that I recommend it flat out. If you’re someone that has worked through your own journey of faith questioning, then this is probably something that you could relate to. Perhaps someone who had never questioned their own convictions deeply could relate, but it could possibly be difficult to empathize with some of her choices if you’ve never felt completely lost and disconnected from everything you held as true and real.

The conclusion of the book felt loose for me, that she didn’t really concluded anything. I hoped for more joy and freedom through Christ to come through the pages as a part of her healing. But that’s mostly because that’s how my journey of disillusionment ended, not necessarily hers, and that’s ok. I hope for her and for others that read this or are going through their own journey that you find the freedom, healing, and hope that can only come through Christ and no one, not even Church People, can take it away.

I received this book for free from the publisher’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.


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