Joanna Foreman was happy to see her memoir, THE KNOW-IT-ALL GIRL, a story about growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, published in 2013 by Hydra Publications. She’d lived in the past, alone with her memories, nearly three years while writing it. Thirteen spooky ghost stories can be found in GHOSTLY HAUNTINGS OF INTERSTATE-65. Joanna continued her ghost story theme when Ghost Taxi, Lady of the Wigwam, and Vicarious Christmas were published by Melange Books. She has been a longtime member of the Southern Indiana Writers’ Group and has contributed regularly to their annual anthologies. Visit her website www.joannaforeman.com and her Facebook Author Page:Joanna Foreman, Author Anti-Blog.
Knock, knock . . . Who’s there? . . . Jehovah’s Witnesses . . . Uh-oh.
That’s how it started for Joanna Foreman at the age of five. From there, she gave up almost everything in exchange for the promise of “Everlasting Life in Paradise on Earth.” No Christmas tree, Independence Day fireworks, Halloween costumes or birthday parties. Surely she could celebrate Easter? No, again. She was not to pledge the flag in school or stand to sing the National Anthem. She wasn’t allowed to attend college or vote in political elections. As a youth, she was instructed to dump her worldly friends and would not be allowed to date or marry outside of the religion. Forty-five years later, when she backed away from religion’s grasp, her congregational comrades rapidly vanished—she stood entirely alone.
The author portrays herself happily waltzing her way through life despite all religious obstacles, until she has the emergent need for a blood transfusion after the birth of her third child. Obeying yet another rule, she refuses the treatment and survives to proudly wear an invisible halo which congregation members had bestowed upon her. She keeps her doubts secret until Emma, her best friend of twenty-five years, also refuses a transfusion with tragic results. Cancer didn’t kill Emma—religion did. The lies and back-stabbing that occur immediately after Emma’s death allow Joanna to finally see the real truth. While she’d thought she knew it all, the answers Jehovah’s Witnesses spoon-fed her no longer satisfy. As she gains the freedom to think for herself and choose her own beliefs, she finds herself more content living in a world among millions of people who don’t have all the answers than trapped within parentheses with a few hundred-thousand know-it-alls.(less)