"I'm Perfect, You're Doomed" is the story of Kyria Abrahams's coming-of-age as a Jehovah's Witness -- a doorbell-ringing "Pioneer of the Lord." Her childhood was haunted by the knowledge that her neighbors and schoolmates were doomed to die in an imminent fiery apocalypse; that Smurfs were evil; that just about anything you could buy at a yard sale was infested by demons; and that Ouija boards -- even if they were manufactured by Parker Brothers -- were portals to hell. Never mind how popular you are when you hand out the Watchtower instead of candy at Halloween. When Abrahams turned eighteen, things got even stranger. That's when she found herself married to a man she didn't love, with adultery her only way out. "Disfellowshipped" and exiled from the only world she'd ever known, Abrahams realized that the only people who could save her were the very sinners she had prayed would be smitten by God's wrath.
Raucously funny, deeply unsettling, and written with scorching wit and deep compassion, "I'm Perfect, You're Doomed" explores the ironic absurdity of growing up believing that nothing matters because everything's about to be destroyed.
I love books about weird childhoods and I especially love funny books about weird childhoods. I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed‘s weirdness is basically about the strange things that religion brings out in people, which is something that tends to only be interesting to people who aren’t a part of that religion. But it’s an entertaining book nevertheless!
Kyria is a likable heroine and watching her go through the difficult process if growing up and questioning things shed been taught was a lot of fun. My favorite part was her wonderful recreation of what it’s like being a teenager in love: kinda obsessive and super awkward.
I also liked how, though she isn’t afraid to make fun of the more iffy parts of being a Jehovah’s Witness, she stays respectful of the people who are a part of that religion. She may not be a Witness any longer (spoilers?) but she doesn’t seem to hold it against anyone if they ARE.
The first half of the book focuses on details concerning her home life, school, church, and friends– all funny! Then it takes a turn in the second half. It’s still kinda funny, but as Kyria becomes more troubled her writing becomes more frantic and fast-paced. She deals with depression, her parents divorcing, fallout from the divorce at the church, etc.
Obviously there’s a lot of stuff to work through, but I wish the writing in the second half had kept the same tone level as the first half. It would have felt more cohesive and the book as a whole would’ve been just that little bit better.
Still, I very much enjoyed I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed and I’d definitely recommend it to those of you who also like memoirs about unusual childhoods.
Read: June 7, 2014