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Holy Ghost Girl: A Memoir | [Donna M. Johnson]

Holy Ghost Girl: A Memoir

A compassionate, humorous story of faith, betrayal, and coming of age on the sawdust trail. She was just three years old when her mother signed on as the organist of tent revivalist David Terrell, and before long, Donna Johnson was part of the hugely popular evangelical preacher’s inner circle. At seventeen, she left the ministry for good, with a trove of stranger-than-fiction memories.
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Publisher's Summary

A compassionate, humorous story of faith, betrayal, and coming of age on the sawdust trail.

She was just three years old when her mother signed on as the organist of tent revivalist David Terrell, and before long, Donna Johnson was part of the hugely popular evangelical preacher’s inner circle. At seventeen, she left the ministry for good, with a trove of stranger-than-fiction memories. A homecoming like no other, Holy Ghost Girl brings to life miracles, exorcisms, and faceoffs with the Ku Klux Klan - and that’s just what went on under the tent.

As Terrell became known worldwide during the 1960s and ’70s, the caravan of brokendown cars and trucks that made up his ministry evolved into fleets of Mercedes and airplanes. The glories of the Word mixed with betrayals of the flesh, and Donna’s mother bore Terrell’s children in one of several secret households he maintained. Thousands of followers, dubbed “Terrellites” by the press, left their homes to await the end of the world in cultlike communities. Jesus didn’t show, but the IRS did, and the prophet-healer went to prison.

Recounted with deadpan observations and surreal detail, Holy Ghost Girl bypasses easy judgment to articulate a rich world where the mystery of faith and human frailty share a surprising and humorous coexistence.

Donna Johnson has written about religion for the Dallas Morning News and the Austin American Statesman. She won the Mayborn Creative Nonfiction Prize for Manuscript in Progress in 2007 for Holy Ghost Girl.

©2011 Donna Johnson (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“What a life!…Donna Johnson sorts through her story with great insight, compassion, and humor.” (Jeannette Walls, New York Times best-selling author of The Glass Castle)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (24 )
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4.2 (20 )
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  •  
    Sandee Marble Falls, TX, United States 02-01-13
    Sandee Marble Falls, TX, United States 02-01-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
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    "An Amazing Story of Courage and Hope"
    Where does Holy Ghost Girl rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Because I know the author personally it rates pretty far towards the top of the list.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Donna and her brother. Because of the experiences they had to endure.


    What about Carrington MacDuffie’s performance did you like?

    In talking to Donna about the audible book she said sometimes she thought that maybe she should have narrated it her self, but, after listening to the book I think that Carrington did a superb job of narrating this book and portraying all of the characters. I sincerely enjoyed her performance.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I did have an extreme reaction. There may have been some laughing but more crying. It was so sad to see how Donna's Mother left she and her brother long the way to be with this "evangelist". Of course later finally finding out that their Mom was sleeping with him and having children by him.
    The journey through her life following this lifestyle had to be one of complete confusion to a young child, but they followed along being made to feel this was the only life there was to live.
    As Donna became older and rebelled against the way she had been brought up, she always had thoughts in the back of her mind about David Terrell and his teachings., but mostly missing the children she had grown up with.


    Any additional comments?

    I have been to two events where Donna has come to talk about her book, they were intimate enough that I was fortunate enough to sit with her at both events. In talking to her and now having listened to the book, it is quite amazing to me that she grew up to be the outstanding person she is. Many others would have been felt beat down and not have risen above the life she endured.

    I highly recommend this book. It is a story that will leave you feeling so glad that she rose above her childhood and youth to become a wonderful woman and author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Austin, TX, United States 07-09-12
    Mary Austin, TX, United States 07-09-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Loved this story"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Amazing story. It had to be true, who could have made up such a story line.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Donna moved away and made peace with her life and how different it had been. It is admirable that she didn't separate herself completely from the rest of the family and that came to accept the differences.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hope Nacogdoches, TX, United States 06-04-12
    Hope Nacogdoches, TX, United States 06-04-12 Member Since 2006

    Professor, PhD, and very eclectic reader!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good listen, but somewhat lacking"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Holy Ghost Girl to be better than the print version?

    The narration of the book adds to the interest of the story.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I was hoping for more insight into the narrator's spiritual journey. Instead, it is more about the events and what happened than an introspection into her faith.


    What about Carrington MacDuffie’s performance did you like?

    The characterization of the narration was excellent.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorissa S Saunders 05-28-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Facinating, compassionate and compelling."

    A story that will stay with you. This true story pulled me in and kept me hooked. It does a great job of showing you the inside of the traveling revival world, the personalities and motivations, the complexity. The story is told with honesty and compassion. Although much damage was done along the way, especially to the kids involved , the story ends with the families coming together with love and forgiveness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    e 05-08-12
    e 05-08-12
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    "Fantastic! Loved it!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I have recommended it.
    Anyone who knows me well, knows I can totally relate to so many things in this book!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Everything


    What does Carrington MacDuffie bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I listen to a lot of audiobooks while working. I have heard her narrate before, very nice.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Her "holy ghost" receiving experience :) cracked me up! Been there!


    Any additional comments?

    Great book! Great portrayal of the life and times of tent revivals!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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