A third-generation Jehovah's Witness tells the story of moving to Shanghai with her husband to preach (illegally), meeting a man through a podcast who would make her question her faith, then leaving the church for good.
... a deeply personal and detailed exposition that, at times, is difficult to read. But you will be better for it should you choose to do so ... a fully engrossing story. It is a stark reminder that nothing is permanent. Readers will walk away with a keen understanding of this secretive religion ... Her prose is clean and easy to follow, but it's the final chapter that's exquisitely written. It's quite possible Scorah has executed a perfect final line for the story.
Scorah is particularly adept at showing the crosscurrents at work inside her younger self ... With perception and humor, Scorah describes the bizarre life of missionaries preaching in a country where their religion was banned ... In an era when so many of us are locked into ideological silos, [this book] offer[s] insights into what makes a person susceptible to change.
Scorah’s book, the bravery of which cannot be overstated, is an earnest one, fueled by a plucky humor and a can-do spirit that endears. Her tale, though an exploration of extremity, is highly readable and warm. However, her straightforward, unadorned prose, which many will admire, feels not so much intentionally accessible as the product of a mind still forming the ability to see the secular world, one not trained in the speculative that is the foundation of poetry and lyricism. Given the painfully restricted life she led until her 30s, this is entirely understandable, yet remains artistically limiting ... Scorah would do well in her next literary outing to occupy a bolder space between ethic and revelation, perhaps the memoirist’s trickiest task. And, hopefully, there will be another memoir. Many readers know Scorah through her viral article in The New York Times about the death of her son on his first day of day care. Though the introduction of this material in the final chapter conflicts tonally with what precedes it, her description of that loss in terse, blunted prose is deeply moving. Suddenly, we see an emerging writer come into full emotional expression. This, one senses, is her brutal but beautiful route into a new book — a shorter, wiser one, sharp and devastating ... Given the enormity of her grief and the wholesale collapse of her previous belief system, the intellectual integrity that Scorah displays is nothing short of a miracle.