Read The Truth Book: Escaping a Childhood of Abuse Among Jehovah's Witnesses by Joy Castro Online


"The personal account of a young girl who endured abuse and the disturbing effects of religious hypocrisy within one of the most enigmatic sects of Christian fundamentalism." "Joy Castro is adopted as a baby and raised by a devout Jehovah's Witness family. As a child, she is constantly told to always tell the truth, no matter the consequences, for she must model herself on"The personal account of a young girl who endured abuse and the disturbing effects of religious hypocrisy within one of the most enigmatic sects of Christian fundamentalism." "Joy Castro is adopted as a baby and raised by a devout Jehovah's Witness family. As a child, she is constantly told to always tell the truth, no matter the consequences, for she must model herself on Jehovah, and Jehovah does not lie. She dutifully studies the truth book, a supplemental religious text that contains the principles of the faith." When Joy is ten years old, her parents divorce. Earlier, her father had been disfellowshipped, or excommunicated from the congregation, for smoking. When Joy is twelve, her mother marries a respected brother in their church. He has an impeccable public persona, but behind closed doors at home he is a savage brute. Joy and her younger brother Tony are forbidden from seeing their father and are abused mercilessly - to the point they both think they are going to die. Their battered mother does nothing to protect them. Nor does their church, to which Joy voices her appeals. For two years they suffer, until one day Joy reaches out to her father, and together they plan and execute the children's daring escape....

Title : The Truth Book: Escaping a Childhood of Abuse Among Jehovah's Witnesses
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781559707879
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Truth Book: Escaping a Childhood of Abuse Among Jehovah's Witnesses Reviews

  • Katie
    2019-07-10 09:14

    I read an excerpt from this book in an anthology about working class women and I went to the library the very next day to pick up the book. It made me stop breathing multiple times, made me cry so hard I became thirsty, made me feel a little peace.Joy Castro tells her story without flinching, in a great wide arc that brings everything back around to the beginning. It is a story about growing up as a Jehovah's Witness and suffering the cruel torment and abuse of her stepfather. Reading it was like watching a car wreck, from the point of impact to the time when the injured body wakes up from a coma. The power of the way this story is told is in the journey that the reader takes with the author, who carries you along through the pain to acceptance and some form of healing. A beautifully written and honest book, I recommend it to anyone who wants to be reminded that there is an intense joy that comes from surviving intense pain.

  • brooke
    2019-07-10 11:20

    this book was honest but not cynical. difficult but not impossible. i found myself reading with my mouth having fallen open, unable to comprehend the pain. and unable, too, to sometimes understand what kept the writer going. her courage is amazing.i know about this book because my husband was lucky enough to have had joy castro as a professor while she taught at wabash college. this memoir is a rare treasure. of courage and hope amongst complete darkness.

  • Christine
    2019-06-21 13:25

    I had to read this book for a class. And I'm glad it was required because it surprised me by being a fantastic book. Very difficult to read at times (the content is very diffcult emotionally) but it is well-written and captivating. The author is a fascinating woman, someone who really overcame all odds to get to where she is today.

  • Alisha Marie
    2019-07-11 11:09

    In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that although I'm not a Jehovah's Witness (I was never baptized as one), my mother's ex-husband was and made me and my sisters and brother go to the Kingdom Hall every Thursday night and Sunday morning, as well as Bible Study on Tuesday nights for years during my childhood. So, I kind of have first-hand experience as to the abuse and hypocrisy that goes on behind the curtains of this religion. Due to that, I found myself getting even more pissed off at what was happening in this book, maybe because I was projecting the abuse that my family suffered, but either way, The Truth Book was a heart-wrenching read.At this point, I don't know why I bother reading memoirs unless their humorous because they either depress me or make me severely angry. While The Truth Book did both of these things, it was also uplifting because you're dealing with someone who refused to let her past circumstances dictate her future. Joy Castro did what she had to do to survive the hellish nightmare she (along with her younger brother) suffered at the hands of her mother and stepfather all the while the religion that was supposed to be the "pure" one just turned a blind eye. The author does all of this without the whole "woe is me" component that seems to be present in most memoirs. So much that readers start to think that they're just telling their story, not to inform us, but solely to make us feel sorry for them. You can just tell that Joy Castro is merely stating the facts of what happened to her. She's not asking us for anything other than to read her story.So, The Truth Book was a harrowing and heartbreaking read. It's very easy to relate to the author's plight even if you have no prior experience with Jehovah's Witnesses (although let's face it, we've all hidden from them when they come knocking on our door one time or another). I think the one thing that everyone can relate to (particularly here on GoodReads) is how a love for reading really saved Joy Castro and gave her a bit of a reprieve from the abuse she was suffering. We as readers have all had those moments where we feel like life basically sucks and reading a book has helped us escape and made life better at least for a little while. So, The Truth Book is definitely recommended.

  • Christine
    2019-07-18 09:11

    What a gutsy memoir. You root for the narrator/author/protagonist from beginning to the end, you pray for her, you want to hug her, you want to just bring her something to eat, you want to tell her it will be okay, and you want to hug her again. The emotional timbre of this piece is so very honest--I wish more memoirs were written like this with no hint of self-consciousness. The book’s structure is intriguing–she flashes back and forth in time, and yet pulls it off by adding complexity, without confusing the reader. I have to take a closer look at how Joy Castro does this…without removing the suspense from the storyline and without confusing the reader as to when/where we are.

  • Kyle
    2019-07-11 12:05

    The truth told in Joy Castro’s memoir, The Truth Book, is not easy or even enjoyable to read at times. This does not make Castro’s story any less beautifully written or important, though. Like many memoirs dealing with child abuse, the details describing what Castro and her younger brother endured at the hands of their step-father and mother are hard to stomach. All the more infuriating is that the abuse was handed down in the name of God. Adopted into a devout Jehovah's Witness family, Castro is taught from a young age to always tell the truth. Her mother is a strict member of the church and often cruel to her children while her father is a more loving and affectionate parent but also a philanderer. When Castro's parents finally divorce, her mother marries a fellow Jehovah's Witness who abuses and controls both wife and step-children like a totalitarian dictator. If there is a hell on Earth, it probably resembles something like the two years Castro lived under the tyranny of her step-father. When members of her church find out about the abuse and don't intervene, Castro learns how much the truth really matters in her religion.What sets Castro's story apart from other memoirs is that she is not out for revenge or to demonize anybody (although her step-father is an utterly unsympathetic person). The reader trusts this is a true presentation of him, though because Castro fairly shows both the faults and good sides of her mother and father. She doesn't even let herself off the hook, questioning how well she protected her younger brother and taking partial responsibility for the deterioration of her relationship with her father. Nobody is perfect in this tale but that's what makes The Truth Book such a powerfully complex story. Castro asks neither for praise nor sympathy for what she has endured. She simply wanted to finally tell the truth about her experiences of abuse and religious hypocrisy. Castro also uses this journey to explore her strained relationship with her father. She achieves all this beautifully with lyrical prose and dedication that make this more than just a recounting of terrible events. She invites us inside her head and takes us on a troubling, unforgettable journey of survival and acceptance. After years of repressing her abuse, Castro states, "I see that my silence has kept me safe, but it has kept me lonely. Sometimes you want to leave the jeweled perfection of your privacy, to walk out into the world, among people, with your history on your sleeve. Come what may."

  • Kendall
    2019-07-17 12:21

    Joy Castro has written a riveting account of her childhood, growing up in the Jehovah's Witness community. Many reviewers have commented that her description of this experience is accurate. Though I can not comment on that aspect of the book, I can say that I was struck by the humanity Ms. Castro expresses. Though the child abuse she suffered from her step-father was harrowing, we are given a full vision of the community in which she was raised. There is much sympathy and understanding for the values of the Witnesses, even as she explores the conditions that allowed the abuse to occur and to continue. I was struck by how similar the issues within this community were to the ones I experienced growing up in the 70's. The similarities between the Witness community and the broader culture are as surprising as the differences. Certainly, the isolation that the children felt in school or from their own father who had left the church was a factor that allowed the abuse to go unnoticed. The belief that the father should be the undisputed head of the household also allowed the abuse to go unchallenged by the church. Though more pronounced in this community, the same issues existed and still exist elsewhere. This is a book of love, courage, and family, of betrayal and loyalty, and of hypocrisy and belief. It is not an easy read, but is a rewarding one.

  • Catfish
    2019-06-23 07:06

    Hits all the food groups: adoption, religion, abuse, suicide, parents. Despite the 'Childhood of Abuse' part of the title, it's mainly a positive read, and entertaining at times. Joy's now a professor and mother who is so much bigger and better a person than those who raised her. Ultimately, it's her dad's love that opened the door, physically and emotionally, for Joy and her bro to thrive after what they experienced, without blubbering and self-pity. She doesn't seek to ruin the people of this destructive cult but manages a few kind words about them in spite of some completely awful and traumatic experiences, therefore it doesn't come across as a tell-all by a helpless victim. You can figure out the rest even without having lived it, and without reading 'Hypocrites!' on every page.btw. . .was the first book on this topic that I read when I left the JWs years ago, it reinforced the path I was on then, that 'out' was the right direction. The title is an inside joke: the JW's official study book for new members from the the 60's to the 80's was called The Truth Book.

  • Liana
    2019-07-16 11:10

    I don't read a lot of memoirs (maybe two in the last ten years?), but I can't imagine there are many that are this good. I stayed up late to finish the last two thirds or so just because I wanted to make sure everyone was okay before I went to sleep. She has quite a story to tell, but it's not sensationalized at all; it's honest and thoughtful—although it did make me want the Jehova's Witnesses who left a flyer at my door while I was out running errands the next day to come back so I could lay into them a little bit.

  • Georgie
    2019-07-08 06:57

    The rating lost a star because of the insane back and forth in chapters 1-7. I was interested throughout the whole book, but once she finally stayed in one time period I couldn't put it down (well, I could, but I didn't really want to at times.) It's difficult subject matter so I would suggest a little researching of the book before you pick it up. All in all, it's interesting, tragic, sad, and at times hard to believe, but its The Truth of some people's lives. Worth the time it takes to get interested. I can't wait to meet Joy and ask her all of my questions.

  • Danielle DeTiberus
    2019-07-14 13:20

    This is a beautifully written memoir of a little girl who survives a childhood of abuse within her adopted family of Jehovah's Witnesses. A fascinating look into a religion that I knew little about and a painful insight into the psychology of growing up in fear. But, this book is more than that, though. It is never sensational or sentimental. Joy Castro is an amazing writer of short stories and poetry and she applies these skills to this finely crafted memoir.

  • Leslie Larson
    2019-06-23 08:02

    An amazing story, well told. Castro was adopted as an infant into a family of Jehovah's Witnesses. Her fight to protect herself and her brother from a barrage of abuse from her step father—a higher up in the church—is harrowing reading. The quiet tone and hopeful ending leave room for the reader take in Castro's plight without being overwhelmed.

  • William
    2019-06-30 06:15

    If you can get past the first 20-30 pages, this book is hard to put down. Too "artsy" of a beginning makes it hard to get into, but the story ends up being captivating. I know the author, so that may have influenced my opinion.

  • Marla
    2019-07-15 11:17

    This was an interesting read, although the subtitle set up expectations that were misleading. I expected to read about abuse related to the religion, but the abusers were psychologically sick who used Jehovah to enforce or rationalize their abuse. The stepfather was a pedophile who used his role as "spiritual father" to enforce obedience to sick behavior. The jacket notes state that the mother was in an abusive relationship, suggesting that was the reason for her physical and emotional abuse. But she ran hot (loving) and cold (abusive) before marrying the stepfather. The first husband (father) was narcissistic, resulting in emotional neglect, a form of abuse. He was not a committed JW and was defellowshipped when the children were young, so JW was not his rationale. I appreciated Castro's exploration of her father's life to understand his behavior. His second wife (the stepmother) provided the only seemingly unconditional love and warmth during their childhood. As a narcissist herself, she thoughtlessly stated why she appeared to be loving when the author, in her mid 30s, thanked her stepmother for the only consistent loving presence in her life. The stepmother's response was unbelievably cruel although I'm sure she just thought she was being honest. Had this been said to me, I would have been devastated and disoriented (what can I believe about the world? what is real? what isn't real?) It was almost the coup de grace in a life of abuse. Did I like the book? It's hard to say that when reading about abuse. Castro's voice and style make the book engaging and easy to read. I discovered this memoir after reading another book by Castro. I was intrigued with its title especially because I have friends who are either JW or recovering JW. I now have a third book on my shelf ready to read.

  • Vtlozano
    2019-06-29 13:20

    A relentlessly even toned memoir, admirably anchored in atmospheric details that feel amazingly recalled and hammered down in the present tense. Does a great job of recreating what it's like to be a child surrounded by the injustice of bigger bodies around you.

  • Daisy
    2019-07-02 06:57

    This is my third time reading the book. It is one of my all-time favorites. A bold memoir of a girl's escape from an abusive Jehova's Witness family, but also so much more. She is the writer that I aspire to be.

  • Ruth
    2019-06-26 08:14

    A harrowing childhood of abuse and the unbreakable spirit of a little girl. An absolute triumph!

  • Yuena
    2019-07-04 10:01

    Good, but sometimes Joy Castro moved from place-to-place, and then later filled in the gaps, so sometimes it was confusing.

  • Jenny Ruth
    2019-06-30 09:59

    Hauntingly beautiful.

  • S
    2019-07-15 04:57

    I picked this up after reading a chapter or so excerpt in an anthology. I really liked the last few chapters, but some of the book just did not grab me. Overall an interesting read.

  • Shay Atkinson
    2019-07-20 05:11

    One of the best memoirs I have ever read. This book empowered and strengthened me. The writing is pure and rich in description. I am amazed with the courage and strength it took the author to break free to save her brother and herself from abuse and manipulation.

  • Kryssi-Tina
    2019-07-15 05:03

    A very well written memoir. The emphasis is on the childhood neglect and less on the religious upbringing. I was hoping to get a better understanding of the jehovahs witnesses religion however this book just touches on some points.

  • Jackie
    2019-07-16 13:20

    This story is told in a matter-of-fact and honest way– offering no flourishes or opinions– just stating the facts. It neither hacks nor praises anything to do with the Jehovah’s Witness religion– the reader is allowed to see both sides and make their own judgements. The book is hard to read at some points– the creepy step father priming to make his pervy moves, the brutal physical abuse of her and (especially) her rambunctious little brother and the psychological abuse by their mother, both fathers and the elders of the church.Aside from outlining what she went through in the church and at the hands of her brutal mother and step-father Ms. Castro also uses this narration to work through her feelings towards her charismatic father’s suicide some years later. Her journey of acceptance and forgiveness of her father’s actions is as heartbreaking as the abuse. It is a bit awkward in its writing style at some points (flipping back and forward from past to present and back again often within the same paragraph or part) but an over all great read. 3.5 for Joy Castro’s brave truth.

  • Karen Hoots
    2019-07-03 12:08

    Very well written memoir. Joy Castro is a very positive and inspiring person. She has amazingly risen above a childhood of neglect, guilt, mental and physical abuse, as well as indoctrination in a religion that is suffocating, stifling and exclusionary. As if that wasn't enough her and her younger brother suffered two years of horrific poverty and abuse by the hand of her disturbed stepfather and their mother's inability to take action. I could relate to the religious portion of the book to a degree. My mother was a Jehovah's Witness from the time I was 11 until I turned 21. We had to attend meetings and bible studies and were encouraged not to socialize with "worldy people." Even as an 11 year old I felt uncomfortable with their teachings and rules. This book brought a lot of those feelings back.

  • Wendy Fontaine
    2019-06-22 11:03

    Gorgeous. Shocking. I couldn't put this book down or stop thinking about this narrator, who endured one of the hardest, most confusing childhoods I've ever heard described (abuse at the hands of her religious-zealot stepfather and no protection from her meek mother). The language is sparse and beautiful with just enough reflection to add depth of understanding, but not so much reflection as to overdramatize the situation (which, really, needs no added drama - it's horrible enough).Joy Castro may be one of my new favorite writers. How have I missed her writing until now?

  • Karen Newton-martin
    2019-06-24 04:56

    Immediately upon finishing this book I rated it. I gave it two stars. A couple of days have passed and I realize now that this book stayed with me. I felt the beginning and ending were dry and, frankly, boring. The heart of this story, though, is heart breaking. This woman is amazing. Her spirit is amazing. Of all that she described going through, the thing that affected me the most was her step mother's response to her thank you. It almost feels crueler than everything her step father did, maybe because it wasn't predictable.

  • Julie Williams
    2019-07-12 10:25

    Joy Castro is an amazing writer. I was drawn to the subject matter because of my own personal history, read the book in one sitting, and have now ordered the two novels she has written since the University of Nebraska press published her memoir. The novels are mysteries set in New Orleans. Ms. Castro's command of detail, figurative language, and storytelling were stunningly beautiful in the memoir. I can't wait to see what she does with fiction.

  • Zamarit
    2019-07-15 09:11

    There's only been one other book that has made me cry and this is now on that list. A lot of what she wrote about was very relatable to me coming from a similar background of Jehovahs Witness. I had to put the book down a couple of times but as I got closer to finishing it I couldn't put it down. The end has to be my favorite part of the entire book definitely keeping this book for a very long time. Never has something I've read shook me up in such a way like this one.

  • Sarah
    2019-07-11 13:19

    Okay, so... this book was written quite well, and the subject matter was compelling and disturbing and obviously a story that needed to be told, but it was, at times, almost painful to read. To be fair, it was required reading for a class, and really not my cup of tea; not bad by any means. Just not a joy (pardon the pun) to read.

  • Skye
    2019-06-22 06:18

    This was a well-written memoir, but hard to read, after the story really got going. What keeps me reading memoirs like this is that Joy survived, and eventually thrived. She actively writes. I'm amazed that people can endure, and then manage to build a life for themselves that works. Hooray for human strength.