Cover image for This dark world : a memoir of salvation found and lost
This dark world : a memoir of salvation found and lost
Briggs, Carolyn S., 1955-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck, [2002]

Physical Description:
306 pages ; 22 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BR1725.B495 A3 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A riveting memoir of one woman's immersion into Fundamentalist faith, and her decision, twenty years later, to leave it all behind.

Carolyn Briggs grew up with modest means in the Iowa Heartland. Pregnant at seventeen, married to her musician boyfriend a few months later, by the age of eighteen she found herself living in a trailer with no plans beyond having more babies. Then a friend from high school called to announce that she had asked Jesus into her heart.

That phone call altered the rest of Carolyn Briggs' life. It began innocently enough-a few minutes lingering on the televangalist stations, a cursory look at the Bible-and soon she had wholly given herself over to a radical, apocalyptic New Testament church. She wore modest clothing and kept her head covered, she spent hours in prayer and Bible study, eschewing drinking, meat, and even dancing. Her daily life was permeated with an overwhelming sense of the divine-she braced herself for the Rapture each time she heard trumpet music over the supermarket loudspeaker. After a traumatic second pregnancy, her marriage began to unravel, and it was only then that she dared to question the religious dogma she had embraced for all of her adult life to date.

Beautifully written and powerfully told, this memoir is a fascinating look at the nature of faith, and the inspiring story of one woman's struggle to find her place in the world.

Author Notes

Carolyn S. Briggs received her B.A. and MFA at the University of Arkansas. She teaches composition and creative writing in Des Moines, Iowa, where she lives with her husband.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Briggs's memoir is a riveting page-turner that rings emotionally true, as well as a brave contribution to a growing literature that tells the extraordinary stories of supposedly ordinary women. Its first third, however, has become all too familiar: A bookish, awkward girl from the wrong side of the tracks blossoms but is thwarted in her attempts to rise above her station. This motif has appeared in many a novel, memoir and film in the past few decades, and its charm and power have worn thin. The book breaks newer ground as it chronicles Briggs's adult life as a born-again Christian. Most fascinating is her account of her faith community in the 1970s; as self-identified "Jesus Freaks," she and her friends blended progressive/alternative practices such as eating health food and nursing each other's children with right-wing religious dogma. Too little has been written about American Christian fundamentalism among hippies in the pre-Moral Majority days, and, as such, Briggs's book shines light in a dim corner. Unfortunately, her exoticized depiction of born-again believers as well as her abrupt and superficial explanation of her loss of faith seem more self-serving and less honest than the rest of the book. One understands why she fled a stultifying marriage and a suffocating theology, but her newfound atheism is a mystery. Regardless, readers will find this book as addictive as a good novel, and it will leave them asking questions about their own lives and faith experiences. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved