Sunday, October 30, 2011

Crazy Book Tours Presents:

"Holy Ghost Girl" by Donna M Johnson

“Holy Ghost Girl” by Donna M Johnson
Publication Date:  October 13, 2011
Gotham Books

From the Publisher:

A compassionate, humorous story of faith, betrayal, and coming of age on the evangelical sawdust trail.

She was just three years old when her mother signed on as the organist of tent revivalist David Terrell, and before long, Donna Johnson was part of the hugely popular evangelical preacher’s inner circle.  At seventeen she left the ministry for good, with a trove of stranger than fiction memories.  A homecoming like no other, Holy Ghost Girl brings to life miracles, exorcisms, and face-offs with the Ku Klux Klan.  And that’s just what went on under the tent.

As Terrell became known worldwide during the 60’s and 70’s, the caravan of broken down cars and trucks that made up his ministry evolved into fleets of Mercedes and airplanes.  The glories of the Word mixed with betrayals of the flesh and Donna’s mother bore Terrell’s children in one of the several secret households he maintained.  Thousands of followers, dubbed “Terrellites” by the press, left their homes to await the end of the world in cult-like communities.  Jesus didn’t show, but the IRS did, and the prophet/healer went to prison.

Recounted with deadpan observations and surreal detail, Holy Ghost Girl bypasses easy judgment to articulate a rich world in which the mystery of faith and human frailty share a surprising and humorous coexistence.

Holy Ghost Girl:  A Memoir (Gotham Books, October 13, 2011, $26.00, Hardcover) recounts the rise and fall of BBrother Terrell from southern folk hero who was beaten by Klansmen for seating blacks and whites together, to womanizing end-time prophet who fathered children with more than one woman outside his marriagen, including Donna's mother.   When pressed about his children's future, he brushed the concern aside with, "Jesus will come before then."  As Terrell's personal life began to implode, thousands of followers, duibbed Terrellites by the press, descended on backwaters across the south to await the Acopalypse.  Stories emerged of guitar-shaped swimming pool, fleets of Mercedes Benz, a privatge jet and real estate payments made with brown bags filled with cash, and the prophet/healer went to jail.

Holy Ghost Girl bypassed easy judgment  of Terrell and his followers to articluate a rich and mystical world rendered with the wry observations and details only a kid would notice.


5 out of 5 stars from me!  I couldn’t have said it any better about this book than what the Publisher has said about this book, as they are exactly right on the mark about it, but that this is an actual memoir that goes into much greater detail, of course, than you can dare to imagine.  I do have a great opinion of this book.
Day by day, revival after revival, the people pour in looking for some kind of hope for Jesus Christ to perform a miracle in their lives.  In some places of this book I was in stitches, and in others, it was so sad.  For example, a man just came up to Terrell and handed him his hard-earned money, money he probably could have used to feed or clothe his family all because the good Lord laid it heavily on his heart to do so.  If this guy only knew what that money went to.  NOT to help people, but to line Terrell’s pockets and more! 
I always laugh when I see these tent revivals in the movies or on TV!  I always think what a sham!  Who and why would someone readily give out money to anyone who has erected an old circus tent just in the name of Jesus?  These people need their heads examined!  Today things are different.  We have the power of television and the internet.  In a way things are not that different, just the process of the delivery of the message is different.  I am not saying ALL people who get on TV are crooked, either.  Look at Joyce Meyers, for example, and all the good she does!  I also know there are others as well who are not wrong, so sometimes it can be a tough decision
This book goes into such detail of all the things that happened as to what made Dona’s mother, the daughter of a Pastor to begin with, even decide to join David Terrell’s group to become the organist of these tent revivals, to how and what made Donna want to leave this dysfunctional so-called family she had back at the tent revivalists.  I don’t know HOW she turned out so normal?
It was amazing how fast they got these dust ridden tents up, even with volunteers helping from other churches from all over the areas these groups went to speak at couldn’t get to fast enough to help raise these tents, as the Revivals were often referred to as the Sawdust Trails from 1960-1962, to the trouble the kids would get into as the preaching went on. 
The part that hit me the most was how in the memoir, Donna was able to see this was NOT the way to live life, (perhaps David Terrell taking her as his wife at a very young age and sleeping with her) to her leaving without ever turning back to look again.  That is, until Brother David Terrell, the Healer, the End-Time Prophet, the closest thing Donna had to a father figure dies/Daddy, dies.  This is in the very front of the book, in the Prologue, in which Brother Randall Terrell, son to David Terrell, decides he is going to raise his father from the dead, just like Jesus was.  Shocking.
This book is a wonderful memoir as to all Donna went through.  Just amazing!  GREAT read!  I highly suggest reading this book!
I received this book for “FREE” from Gotham Publishers, through Crazy Book Tours, through their Book Reviewer’s Program in exchange to read and write a review about this book.  It is NOT required for my review I write to be either positive or negative, but, “of my own opinion.”  I was NOT provided with “ANY” monies to accept this book, “NOR” to read it, NOR were “ANY” monies given to me to write the review for this book.  All that was ‘expected’ of me was to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it.  Again, the opinions expressed for and about this book are ‘of my own opinion’.  I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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