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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a struggle to be free
This is one of five books published in the BBC's 2010 'My Story' competition, created for people to write stories of difficult circumstances they have faced in their life (see the 'Customers who bought this item also bought' section). I wanted to read this as I am interested in the experiences of people who have been brought up in strict religious families. I'm not sure...
Published on 26 Jun. 2011 by Alan Flynn

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Bit of a boring story, most of our book group didn't finish it.
Published 12 months ago by G.O.M.


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a struggle to be free, 26 Jun. 2011
By 
Alan Flynn (Peterborough, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Not My Idea of Heaven (My Story) (Paperback)
This is one of five books published in the BBC's 2010 'My Story' competition, created for people to write stories of difficult circumstances they have faced in their life (see the 'Customers who bought this item also bought' section). I wanted to read this as I am interested in the experiences of people who have been brought up in strict religious families. I'm not sure why, but the author only refers to her childhood religion as 'the Fellowship'. An early mention of a photo of J. N. Darby having pride of place in every Fellowship home however, indicates that her family belong to the Exclusive Brethren, also referred to as Plymouth Brethren, or Christian Brethren. Darby was the chief figure behind the formation of this sect in the nineteenth century. It is the women from this religion who are the most identifiable, as they commonly wear a small headscarf and ankle-length skirts. They are similar to the Amish of north America in their repudiation of the modern world (television & radio are banned), of limited contact with 'worldly people' and their strict adherence to a dress code.

Rosa's account of her childhood life as a member of this sect is simply but directly told. She was forbidden to eat with other children in school or to have friends round to her house. As she becomes a teenager she becomes obsessed with her weight and develops anorexia. Rosa comes to believe that it is her strict religious upbringing and her family's crippling isolation which is at the basis of her mental distress. She realises that in order to save herself, she must jettison the world of her parents and embrace the wider society in which she lives.

This story reminded me so much of a book by a woman from a different culture. Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera relates how she was cut off from her Sikh family because she chose not to enter an arranged marriage. Two diverse cultures, yet united by a dogmatic adherence to rules which entail that any family member who deviates from them in search of personal freedom is cast adrift. Two stories of brave women who triumph over the repression of their respective cultures.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than Meets The Eye!, 4 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Not My Idea of Heaven (My Story) (Paperback)
There have been many books written by people who grew up in religious sects, and quite a number by sufferers of anorexia and other eating disorders. Lindsey's beautifully and wittily written autobiography, tells of her early life in a sect, and her battle with anorexia as a teenager though into motherhood.

But what sets this book apart from so called 'misery memoirs' is the unique insight Lindsey offers into the mind of a determined young girl, battling to find her identity in a family separating itself from society, and then in the world beyond the sect.

Far from painting herself as the innocent victim, mentally abused but oppressive forces, Lindsey is, at times, brutally honest about her own faults. And that is what makes her story so real and relevant to the reader.

Ultimately, the sum is far greater than the parts. A fascinating read.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing read, 6 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Not My Idea of Heaven (My Story) (Paperback)
Lindsey's story is a rare read, not only because of the unique upbringing she recounts but also because of the utter honesty she recounts it with.
There is a real sense of a journey and not one that ends because the book does. I wouldn't recommend the book to people who want to believe in a fairytale happy ever after, rather those who can face the fact that life, in all it's wonder, can be seriously hard work.
Lindsey's determination is inspiring and it is easy to be on her side as a reader, because she never asks you to be. Her humour is evident throughout the book and her ability to laugh at herself at times ensures that the story, although dealing with intensely difficult issues, is not too intense to enjoy reading.
Personally, I couldn't put it down.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating window into this strict religious sect and the author's ensuing experience..., 4 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Not My Idea of Heaven (My Story) (Paperback)
Have just finished reading this book and found the author's true story fascinating; her experience is a world away from normal. Reading about how daily life was for her within the 'confines' of this sect makes me realise how much we take our free and easy existence for granted. The result of this other-worldly experience obviously wreaked havoc in her life, but it was incredibly moving to read her very real account of the lows then highs of her ordeal. A brave woman indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars, 22 July 2014
This review is from: Not My Idea of Heaven (My Story) (Paperback)
Bit of a boring story, most of our book group didn't finish it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality check, 1 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Not My Idea of Heaven (My Story) (Paperback)
This book is un-put-downable. Written in a conversational style - as if sitting opposite on the sofa, Lindsey pours out her story with a dry, self-depracating wit that draws the reader into her world. And what a bizarre world it is! Her lightness of touch, however, acts as a foil to the extraordinarily poignance of feelings and experiences she relates and prevents the book from declining into morbidness.

Few, comparatively, will have the misfortune to share her extreme religious upbringing; many more will identify with her struggles with the eating disorder it caused. But this is a book to challenge and hearten everyone who is grappling with the reality of life and realising that so-called happy endings belong to fairy tales. Human life is designed to be far deeper, richer and more rewarding than that.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and emotional story, 11 Dec. 2012
By 
carrut (Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Not My Idea of Heaven (My Story) (Paperback)
A fascinating and emotional story of a girl who grew up in a strict religious sect. Unfortunately, she isn't a professional author, so the story seems to feel a bit rushed toward the end, which is a shame.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars easy but profound..couldnt put it down, 2 May 2011
This review is from: Not My Idea of Heaven (My Story) (Paperback)
i couldnt put this book down...brilliant read - it reads really easily and lindsey is very honest and real - highly recomended
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truely impressive !, 6 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Not My Idea of Heaven (My Story) (Paperback)
Truly impressive.

`Not My Idea of Heaven' is a heart rendering story told with breath taking openness and honesty to reveal the whole truth of Lindsey's journey through life. She faces every aspect of her battle to find herself as a `normal' person in the `worldly' world. Many writers would have been tempted to leave out the anger and rage that could so easily be judged and criticised. She does not; Lindsey faces the compulsions that devour her life.

She slowly introduces the reader to her family and life of seclusion from the real world. Thus she exposes her deep feelings; pride being a member of `The Fellowship', torn by the temptations of the `worldly' people, overcome by guilt when tempted. The reader can feel her being gently but surely sucked into the ways and rules of the sect. She paces her writing well; chapters varying in length, always enticing one to continue but never boring.

The vivid detail of her battle with anorexia and bulimia is shocking to read. She gives a crystal clear picture of the desperate challenges and mental torment that have to be faced everyday. A great insight rarely given for all to read.

It is an inspiring story of courage, of a shy teenager close to death struggling to learn to become a part of the `real' world and having the courage to reject `The Fellowship' and abandon her family in order to find the true Lindsey.

I recommend this book as an excellent read. Especially so, if you are facing the trauma of anorexia or supporting someone with the illness. Also if you are struggling with your conscience as to whether you could or should leave a religious sect.

Lindsey does not try to close her story with the `and everyone lives happily ever after' fairy story cliche. She leaves us knowing she still has conflicts and struggles to overcome, but with her determination and courage she will face them in her endeavour to become a `normal' person in a real world. Becoming fully woman and mother and especially fully Lindsey Rosa.

A compulsive read!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gut-churning, 1 Nov. 2010
By 
I. C. Mckay "Ian" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Not My Idea of Heaven (My Story) (Paperback)
Not My Idea of Heaven is a valuable, meticulously detailed case history that will probably be quoted in many future studies of cults and their psychological legacy. It is written with great clarity and remarkable frankness. I found it engrossingly interesting, and at the same time emotionally traumatic, since it re-awakened many gut-churning memories of Exclusive Brethrenism.
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Not My Idea of Heaven (My Story)
Not My Idea of Heaven (My Story) by Lindsey Rosa (Paperback - 29 Sept. 2010)
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