Edwards grippingly chronicles her bizarre childhood within a California cult in her smart debut. This is a wrenching testimony about a complicated childhood reclaimed.
Flor Edwards’ Apocalypse Child is an engrossing account of growing up within the strangely insular Children of God cult. With expressive yet measured candor, Edwards conveys her sense of identity confusion and outrage during a time of readjustment, as well as her eventual journey to greater self-acceptance and spiritual peace.
The moving story carries a muted, often dark sense of humor, with a wry sense of timing… An impressive religious memoir—candid and inspiring without being sensationalistic or self-pitying.
An astounding work written with indelible clarity and style. Apocalypse Child is a brilliant and vivid depiction of what goes on behind the walls of a cult—revealing how terror permeates each and every waking moment. Flor Edwards is a wise and savvy soul who was forced to dance the dance—intuitively knowing it was wrong—but also knew she had to do everything in her power to be set free. A singular achievement.
—Diana Raab, author of Regina’s Closet and Writing for Bliss
As a child, when given spending money for the first time, Flor Edwards purchased a pen. She wasn’t allowed to use it—the cult she grew up in didn’t allow for individual creative expression—but she carried it around like a totem. How lucky we are that she wields a pen now, that she has claimed her own voice, that she has found the perfect words to share her compelling, unconventional story.
—Gayle Brandeis, author of The Art of Misdiagnosis
An addictive, deeply emotional, and terrifyingly true account of growing up in a religious cult. Apocalypse Child heralds an exciting new literary voice. I can’t wait to read more by Flor Edwards.
—Reza Aslan, author of Zealot and God: A Human History
In the corner of the dining room was a fish tank that could hardly be called an aquarium because the fish inside were so ugly. It wasn’t bright and cheery like an aquarium you might see in a fancy restaurant or a five-star hotel. The fish it housed were grey and dark and the water was murky, like something you’d find at the bottom of the sea or underneath the rocks off the coast of the Philippines. Two suckerfish that looked like miniature sharks latched onto the glass and sucked up anything that got in their way. Supposedly they kept the tank clean and even ate their own excrement after devouring that of every other creature in the tank. There was a crawfish that looked like a pink lobster and a couple of grey guppies. Sometimes the guppies disappeared for no apparent reason, and we cleaned out the tank and dumped in a fresh new batch.
Since the tap water wasn’t safe to drink, we had to bleach or boil it. We ordered heavy five-gallon jugs of water for fifteen baht apiece and refilled them weekly. Next to the water cooler was a little bottle of bleach with a screw-on top. John was in charge of adding bleach to the bottled water. For every barrel, he added ten drops. When one barrel was finished, I watched as he care- fully counted out the bleach droplets as they disappeared into the barrel’s mouth and dissolved in the water below. When John wasn’t around, someone who wasn’t used to dropping the bleach in the water would do it. Sometimes they accidentally let too much in, and the water burned with the bitter taste of bleach for the rest of the day. Sometimes when that happened we had to waste a whole barrel of water, but when we did drink it I figured the extra bleach kept my insides clean and in top-notch condition.