Replete with all the angst and adolescent passion requisite in a coming-of-age memoir, stand-up comedian Abrahams’s debut features a special grabber—the expectation of the impending end of days.
The author was reared as a Jehovah’s Witness, convinced that the world as we know it would soon end. The word from the Kingdom Halls where Witnesses gathered was that nonbelievers would perish any minute now in a fiery apocalypse, the Great War of Armageddon. Therefore, the author knew that worldly things like birthday celebrations, divorces, Smurfs, Halloween, yard sales and sex with strangers must be avoided in favor of regular Bible study and knocking on sinners’ doors. Sister Kyria learned that “Jesus was the head over man; man was the head over woman; and woman was the head over cooking peach cobbler and shutting up.” Somehow she became interested in matters not covered in Watchtower, Awake! or meetings at the Pawtucket Kingdom Hall. These included e-mail flirtations, weed, vodka and, in particular, sex. Her co-religionists soon became convinced that Abrahams, once tagged as gifted, had been taken by a demon spirit. Readers will be convinced it was the spirit of a comic performer, doubtless acquired at her early Theocratic Ministry School appearances as well as later competitive poetry slams. She was, naturally, “disfellowshipped” and thus deprived of perpetual life. Undoubtedly the cleverest lapsed Jehovah’s Witness yet, Abrahams offers a graphic, mordant, wickedly distaff take on the first two decades of her current life. It’s a confessional talking cure, melancholy as well as funny as it chronicles unharmonious family life, a short miserable marriage, foul boyfriends, booze and pervasive naïveté.
As oddly engrossing as repeated slow-motion viewings of an accident in an amusement park.