Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Book Review: Attic Alone-An Ex-Jehovah’s Witness Finds the Church by A. McGinley

This book starts off with a terrible scene.

A. McGinley tells the story of her large, imposing and abusive Jehovah’s Witness father placing drops of acid on her arm.  This was a common practice among the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 1940’s as it was against their religion to receive smallpox vaccinations.  The scar left behind from the acid burns on her arm would look like a scar from a smallpox vaccination.  This imitation vaccination scar along with a falsified medical record was all that her father needed to get McGinley into grammar school since children who were not vaccinated against smallpox back in the 1940’s were not allowed to attend school.

The physical pain that McGinley describes from this imitation smallpox vaccine is a fitting metaphor for the emotional and spiritual pain that she received from the imitation Gospel of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Just as I could imagine hearing her screaming in pain due to the acid burns while her Mother comforts her, I could also feel her emotional and spiritual pain that she recounts for us throughout the book as the imitation Gospel of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is foisted upon her by her JW father and JW grandmother while her Mother comforts her as best she can.  Throughout the book, the only other place she can go for comfort besides her Mother’s embrace is the Attic of her home all alone which soon becomes the Attic of her soul.

However, while suffering due to the effects of the mind controlling and abusive nature of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the destruction they caused on her family, A. McGinley recounts the many rays of light that she experienced in her life.  She walks us through the grace that God gives her as she makes her way home to the fullness of the Christian faith in the Catholic Church.  From learning how to say the Lord’s Prayer while in grammar school, which turns out to be the only prayer she can say for many years, to the altar call at the same Church which she saw through the hospital window during her son’s illness, she recounts the amazing ways in which Our Lord called to her in her moments of need.

A. McGinley’s book is truly a journey of grace and reminds us that while problems in this world may make us want to retreat into our “Attic Alone”, that we really do have a friend in Christ who is with us at all times and at all places along our journey to heaven.