Her own character allows the reader to see a number of contradictions within the family that move the book along rapidly. The real miracle is not that of her birth, but rather how she remained sane and able to live a productive life of her own.
The preacher father, expected to speak the Adventist message to his audience, privately reveals his own disbelief with many parts of that message. Ramona observes her father’s kindness toward others and learns to evaluate the conduct of others in developing her own beliefs.
As Ramona goes to school and meets children of other backgrounds, she wants more and more to be a part of the “world” that her mother tells her to avoid, such as novel reading, watching movies and dancing. Every challenge by Ramona to her mother’s steadfast reliance upon the message of the religion’s Prophetess allows the reader to glimpse into the mind of a child wanting to affirm her own ideals.
Interestingly, Rees calls the memoir a novel. And it reads like one, as her stories build upon one another and develop conflicts between Ramona and each of her parents. How can her father continue to preach messages of which he doubts? How long will her mother attempt to control her life using religion as a cover? What will Ramona decide to do with her life and what if it does not square with what her mother wants?
Rees answers each of these questions with a conclusion that contains unexpected events. She finds the soul of her character in the process. Her difficult childhood has brought about character, which moves her towards her personal destiny.
I recommend this book to all, especially to those who are interested in studying character development and the ways in which religion can be misused to the detriment of children.