Once You Go In

A Memoir of Radical Faith

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Pub Date 16 Oct 2018 | Archive Date 13 Oct 2018

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Description

Carly Gelsinger is an awkward and lonely thirteen-year-old when she stumbles into Pine Canyon Assemblies of God, the cracked stucco church on the outskirts of her remote small town. She assimilates, despite her apprehensions, because she is desperate to belong. Soon, she is on fire for God. She speaks in tongues, slays demons, and follows her abusive pastor’s every word―and it’s not until her life is burnt to the ground that she finds the courage to leave. Raw and illuminating,Once You Go In is a coming-of-age tale about the beauty and danger of absolute faith, and the stories people tell themselves to avoid their deepest fears.

Carly Gelsinger is an awkward and lonely thirteen-year-old when she stumbles into Pine Canyon Assemblies of God, the cracked stucco church on the outskirts of her remote small town. She assimilates...


Advance Praise

Vivid and engaging, this memoir shows, with honesty and intelligence, the appeal of Pentecostal religiosity to a sensitive and searching teenager... Gelsinger’s excellent storytelling provides illuminating vignettes on her experience and how it was so often laced with doubt even as she sought certainty… A well-written, honest memoir that takes a multilayered view of revival.”
Kirkus Reviews

“With a keen eye for detail and a sharp skill for storytelling, Carly Gelsinger’s “Once You Go In” is a must-read memoir for anyone searching for God in the aftermath of a shipwrecked faith experience. Gelsinger’s wise and poignant writing reminds us that there is hope after a shipwreck, there is light after darkness and most of all, there is love even in the midst of pain.”
―Elizabeth Esther, author of Girl at the End of the World and Spiritual Sobriety

"Being a teenager is uncomfortable, desperate, and terrifying under the best circumstances; only much later can we look back and see the humor and magic of our most awkward years. The same is true of out-grown religion. We need space and time to integrate, recover, and laugh at the absurdity of it all. Carly Gelsinger does this with wisdom and candor: by exploring her past, she gives us permission to journey within our own." 
―Reba Riley, author of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome: One Woman's Desperate, Funny, and Healing Journey to Explore 30 Religions by her 30th Birthday

“I have read a lot of memoirs, but Carly Gelsinger’s Once You Go In is one of the most profound pieces of storytelling I have ever encountered. It is the story of a young California girl who finds her way into a fundamentalist Pentecostal church and needs about a decade to find her way out again. The memoir unfolds slowly, as the naiveté of the young protagonist about where she is and what is happening to her dawns only very gradually. In the last third of the book we find ourselves cheering for Carly, hoping for her escape, for her rescue from those who were sure they knew where rescue could be found―in their own ignorant, exhausting, and, finally, very sad version of American Christianity. I cannot recommend this memoir highly enough, especially for those still trying to understand, or escape from, American fundamentalism.”
―Dr. David Gushee, author of Still Christian and president of the American Academy of Religion

Vivid and engaging, this memoir shows, with honesty and intelligence, the appeal of Pentecostal religiosity to a sensitive and searching teenager... Gelsinger’s excellent storytelling provides...


Available Editions

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ISBN 9781631524295
PRICE $16.95 (USD)

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