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Quivering Daughters by Hillary McFarland – Book Review

January 20, 2011

As often happens in the blogging world, those of us who blog will often read the blogs of others who have similar backgrounds or similar interests. Although I don’t mention it much, I have survived ritual abuse. I also home school. Between those two things, I end up reading posts on a variety of blogs.

Although our worlds and experiences are different, our common ground of abuse contributed to Hillary McFarland and I “meeting” online. We both commented on the same blog. Something in her comment led me to her Quivering Daughters blog and something in my comment led her to my blogs.

As we read and passed comments and emails back and forth, I came to get a feel for her heart and what she was trying to accomplish. I saw her passion, her gentleness, her love. I also saw the place of pain that had been in her heart for so long and the healing that she worked so hard for. As soon as I read about her book I wanted to read it.

This book was not given to me to review. It was a given with the hope I might be blessed by it, which I was. Although the abuses we experienced were for different reasons and the motivations of the abusers were different, the heart pain was similar. Our efforts to break free resulted in the loss of family. We were both judged for our freedom. We both had scripture thrown at us. We also both clung to the Messiah we loved.

I wasn’t sure what details to expect from Hillary’s life other than what I had read on her blog. I did, however, think I knew what her attitude would be…and she did not disappoint. All throughout the book I see a young woman who truly loves her parents and siblings. At times, she seems to make excuses for their behavior, recognizing that they were doing what they truly believed was best…and what was “godly” and “biblical”.

Although she shares some hard things, she does not rant and rave like I have seen in the writings of some survivors. She approaches the subject with both forthrightness and gentleness…sharing her experiences and how she felt when she went through them. I found the journal entries she shared from her growing up years to be especially poignant. This is not simple an adult looking back and coloring the past. It is the little girl in the journal…the little girl of her heart…also speaking to us years later.

She does not denounce father led families, but she does expose the shortcomings of how some patriocentric families and congregations live it out. She does not denounce large families, but she does expose the difficulties that older children in those families can experience. While not insisting that any family has to live (or not live) in any particular manner, she does show how some women and children are really hurt by the pressure to live in a specific way…particularly the patriocentric and quiverful ways. She shares her story and the resulting pain from growing up in a family with those lifestyles.

There is probably a lot I could say about this book, but I highly suggest you get it and read it…especially if you are in that situation yourself or love someone who is. I believe she will touch your heart. Plus, she goes further than telling her story. She also shares bits of the stories of others, letting us see that she is not alone in her experiences. She also includes some really good articles from some other people who speak about the love of Yeshua and the struggles of some Christian families.

I highly recommend this book.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Joelle permalink
    January 20, 2011 10:43 PM

    I read her blog as well, and follow her on Facebook. She is such an encouraging woman! I hope to read the book myself one day. Although I didn’t come from a very patriarchal background, I married someone who did and he never healed from it, which ultimately destroyed our marriage. It is the abuse that keeps on giving. 😛

    • January 20, 2011 10:48 PM

      How sad that his background contributed to the failing of your marriage. It is not only the women who pay the price, but the men, too…and their future families. I, too, follow her on Facebook.

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