Once You Go in: A Memoir of Radical Faith


Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
She Writes Press
Publish Date
5.6 X 0.7 X 8.5 inches | 0.8 pounds
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About the Author

Carly Gelsinger lives in California with her husband and two daughters. She holds a master's in journalism and runs a small business helping people write their stories. This is her first book.


"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 "A deeply moving, searingly honest memoir of a young woman's emergence from a radical Pentecostal sect. Gelsinger tells her tale without animosity or self-pity, but with kindness and grace. We travel with her as she leaves behind the exacting God of her childhood, and begins to see glimpses of a Spirit that animates all that is around her. An inspiring book about claiming one's own freedom and finding the 'revival' within." --Maggie Rowe, author of Sin Bravely "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 "Carly Gelsinger's coming-of-age memoir is reminiscent of Judy Blume's Are You There God, It's Me Margaret?, only this time our heroine prays for transformation by the Holy Spirit! At times, her Pentecostal experience is so bizarre, you will be convinced you're reading fiction--but her adolescent journey is all too real. Carly exposes the truth about religious life, in that some things don't instantly change with the laying on of hands. Transformation takes time, patience, and sometimes, a little bit of rebellious faith." --Jennifer Knapp, Grammy-nominated musician, author of Facing the Music: My Story, and founder of Inside Out Faith