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Book Data

ISBN: 9781933392820
Year Added to Catalog: 2008
Book Format: Hardcover
Book Art: B&W Photos
Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Number of Pages: 240
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Release Date: August 23, 2008
Web Product ID: 408

Also By This Author

Holy Roller

Growing Up in the Church of Knock Down, Drag Out; or, How I Quit Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus

by Diane Wilson


"[This] vivid memoir. . . recollects childhood in the context--well, in the clutches--of all-encompassing religion. Wilson's fierce determination and passion characterized her first memoir, An Unreasonable Woman, about her David vs. Goliath fight against a polluting Texas chemical company. Now she delves into her childhood in a hardscrabble Pentecostal shrimping family, surrounded by fire-and-brimstone preachers, radio evangelists, tongue-speakers, snake-handlers, and her own relatives--believing women and fallen-away men. Wilson's prose is breathtaking in its dexterity and blunt poetry, as when she recounts being conscripted as a scout to accompany her grandfather and Aunt Patty, under cover of night, to break into a game warden's riverside shack in pursuit of an incriminating gun. Wilson evokes in her rural Gulf Coast setting an exotic place at the intersection of transcendence and squalor, coated in oyster dust and the conviction that God saves (the Pentecostal believers, and no one else)."

Library Journal [starred review]

"With such unforgettable characters as Brother Dynamite (an ex-con who dearly loves the word of God) and Wilson herself, Holy Roller is one of the funniest, freshest and most shocking memoirs in recent memory."

Book People, (Austin, Texas)

"How in the world does Texas turn out so many sassy, silver-tongued agitators: Ann Richards, Molly Ivins--and now, Diane Wilson. Holy Roller answers that question. It made me laugh out loud many times--even as I cringed with alarm for the young girl Wilson at the mercy of the lunatic antics of cuckolded game wardens and snake handling convicts. Readers who love Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, or Flannery O'Connor will savor and admire this mesmerizing tale of growing up among shrimpers on the Texas bayous."

Lisa Alther, best-selling author of Kinfolks and Kinflicks

"One of the best Southern writers of her generation, Wilson's voice twangs with a style and accent all its own, as true and individual as her boundless originality and wild youth."

Square Books, (Oxford, MS, Nomination for Indie-Bound)

"Captures the intensity of fanatical religious rapture with pitch-perfect accuracy."


"Always capturing the guilt-inducing push and pull between curiosity and indoctrination."

Creative Loafing, (Atlanta)

"Wilson writes like a correspondent bemused by the strange goings-on in a foreign land, and Holy Roller is the salt-sprayed Rosetta stone that helps her readers understand."

Texas Monthly

"Holy Roller is a book so good I have to make myself put it down so I won't finish it too soon. If you grew up In The Faith, as she and I did, it's like opening a door and all your old long-departed relatives come out to hug you. And witness to you, in hopes you will stop backsliding and start living for the Lord. Have mercy."

Garrison Keillor, Host of A Prairie Home Companion

"As a writer Diane Wilson snaps out sentences as expertly as she pinched the heads off shrimp as a girl working for her father. Her storytelling is seductive, her metaphors unique, and her passion for exposing cant and corruption is fierce--in exact proportion to her fierce love for those who helped shape her integrity."

Robert Shetterly, artist and author of Americans Who Tell the Truth

"Through a vividly kaleidoscopic voice that captures the intensity of fanatical religious rapture with pitch-perfect accuracy, Wilson exuberantly animates a feverish time, a frenetic place, and its fiery people."


"Holy Roller Rocks. It never slows down. It flies. It's required. We Baptists always had a notion that we were missing something that our Holiness brethren and sisters were in on. Turns out we were right. And little did we know. And besides all that, any page of Holy Roller can be studied a thousand years from now to see how a very alive segment of our population lived. Try this: Read the first sentence of each chapter. It'll take you less than two minutes. Next thing you know you'll be heading to the cash register."

Clyde Edgerton, author of Walking Across Egypt, The Bible Salesman, and Raney

"This book is hothothot. Sizzling hot, hot as hellfire. Once again, Diane Wilson totally enthralls me with her one-of-a-kind voice and exotic material. My mouth is agape."

Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood

Price: $24.95
Format: Hardcover
Status: Available to Ship
Ships: Next day

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