Heretic: A Memoir

Pre-Order   Ships Oct 25, 2022

Product Details

$27.99  $26.03
Publish Date
0.0 X 0.0 X 0.0 inches | 1.11 pounds

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About the Author

Jeanna Kadlec is a writer, astrologer, former lingerie boutique owner, and recovering academic. Her writing has appeared in ELLE, NYLON, O the Oprah Magazine, Allure, Catapult, Literary Hub, Autostraddle, and more. A born and bred Midwesterner, she now lives in Brooklyn. Heretic is her first book.


A Lit Hub Most Anticipated Book of 2022 * An Electric Lit Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Books for Fall 2022 * An Autostraddle "Queer and Feminist Books Coming Your Way- Fall 2022" --

Bless this brave, thoughtful, funny, aggravating, nearly triggering book. It made me wish I still believed in the God I knew in my youth so that I could pick a fight with Him. Kadlec provides an astute picture of what it feels like to be born into the maze of a rigid faith and the twists and turns it takes to find yourself. I wish I had this book when I was a teenager. . . . This will hit very close to home for a lot of people. -- Lucy Dacus

Both memoir and thesis, this book highlights a cultural, social, and spiritual journey that will resonate with many. -- Kirkus Reviews

Heretic is full of intellect and ferocious emotion with language so taut that every thread of her narrative--an evangelical upbringing, religious trauma, violence, and queer love--forms a shimmering braid. Kadlec's analysis of fundamentalist belief, placed right up against tales of cartoons, Dungeons & Dragons, and the art of tarot, moved me to tears with its vibrant celebration of hard-won joy. -- Esmé Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias

A woman reckons with the religious trauma of her upbringing and embarks on a process of self-discovery in this searing debut. . . . As she recounts her disentanglement from religion, Kadlec weaves a deeply personal narrative with excoriating criticism to unpack the ways in which religious belief is sewn into the fabric of American society. The result provides a poignant story of being born again in a secular world. -- Publishers Weekly

"Heretic is an intelligent and highly entertaining memoir. Part cultural history, part personal history, Jeanna Kadlec writes with perspective and poignancy. Her writing excavates the ideal of a good Christian woman and reveals it for all it ever truly was, a myth. Kadlec is a captivating storyteller and cultural historian. Heretic is both an insight into America's regressive politics and a memoir of astonishing honesty and beautiful complexity. From her life as a good Christian girl to her emergence as a queer woman, Kadlec writes with voice and conviction. Heretic is a memoir that employs a coming of sexuality and a coming of womanhood with a prose that is empowering and beautiful. -- Lyz Lenz, author of Godland and Belabored

Kadlec is inviting us to re-examine our own lives and reject anything that would restrict us from living as our full selves in favor of a joyful, open, freer path. I've loved Kadlec's work for a long time--she writes with the bold, clear voice of someone who has been there and back, and has now settled in to tell you the real deal. -- Literary Hub

An anthropological exploration of power, self-discovery, and the communities we both desire and dismantle; Kadlec...graciously offers a new way forward, a hand to hold, an unforgettable and edifying reading experience you won't want to miss. -- T Kira Madden, author of Long Live The Tribe of Fatherless Girls

"Brilliant and well-read, Kadlec braved the emotional tides of religious trauma, divorce, and coming out as queer all before her thirtieth birthday. ... Giving a voice to past and present evangelicals Kadlec invites readers to hold a mirror to the evangelical-political hydra that threatens to overthrow true American freedom." -- Booklist (starred review)

I can't tell you how happy I am that Kadlec's work exists in the world. Heretic is the guidebook I needed for my life. Learning how to overcome harmful systems and find joy and community on our own terms is essential for queer survival, and Kadlec has provided an elegant and astute account. -- Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased

(Kadlec) is gifting us her debut memoir, an achingly rendered story of leaving the Evangelical church and an oppressive marriage, a story of losing faith and finding oneself. Within these pages, Kadlec combines revelatory personal narratives with assiduous cultural criticism, Midwestern wonder with intellectual vigor, to explore how some of the social and spiritual functions of religion can be both abhorrent and illuminative of a new path forward. -- Electric Literature

In this outstanding debut, clear, elegant, and precise as etched glass, Jeanna Kadlec recounts a detachment from her own heart and desires so profound and carefully inculcated that desire for anyone other than God felt like transgression. Her prose is wise and erudite, undergirded by plain speech and an open heart. Heretic is a light unto the path of every former evangelical who longs for communion beyond the condemnation and spiritual abuse of the church, and a crucial window for outsiders into what it's like to grow up handed a birthright of original sin. -- Maud Newton, author of Ancestor Trouble

"This resonant memoir by a former evangelical Christian is searing and beautiful from cover to cover. ... Kadlec's interpretation is particularly refreshing and vividly intensive and will resonate most with readers searching for new beginnings." -- Bay Area Reporter