Divine Betrayal: An Inspirational Story
of Love, Rebellion and Redemption
by Graceann K. Deters Sierra Publishing

"Dad was a preacher of extreme passion. Most of all, he passionately loved Jesus, and winning souls for his church. He believed without question in the extremity of his religion, including its prohibitions against virtually everything."

Graceann Deters memoir begins in 1937. Her father, John Peter Kolenda, was a Pentecostal missionary/preacher for the Assemblies of God; his family centered all its life on the church. Indeed, prohibitions seem more numerous than what was allowed: smoking, drinking, dancing, reading secular books, having friends of other religions, wearing a woman's hair the wrong length, watching movies, etc. These are sometimes impossible to follow. While she was clearly loved, the author's childhood was repressive and sometimes downright ugly. Out of the ordinary events include child molestation; her fathers trying to cure a schizophrenic by praying (exorcising), poisonous snakes and skin-invading insects; a cousin's nervous breakdown; and harrowing car and boat rides. The family moved back and forth between Brazil and the U.S. several times, causing the author to have confusion about language, nationality, and constantly having to make new friends.

While the "betrayal" incident eventually occurs, the moment is brief in which the "divine" (i.e. Graceann's human father) chooses his faith over her. The most fascinating aspects of this memoir are its in-depth look at life in an ultra-religious family, several exotic adventures, and the authors even-handed approach to a severely circumscribed childhood. The author's tone, overall, is calm, not judgmental or angry. The reader finds this amazing as in so many memoirs, this kind of childhood (or the loss thereof) would be portrayed in much harsher terms.

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