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Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite
Elizabeth Mahlou grew up in an abusive home. She tells of her mother stabbing her brother with a knife in the buttocks, and her father throwing a pitchfork and stabbing him with it. Taking an airplane ride had a whole new meaning in this family. The abuse was physical, emotional, and sexual. “The wounds were in the heart and mind and covered parts of the body.” Like most bullies, their mother blamed them for the pain she inflicted.
Did Mahlou’s mother have PMDD? Possibly, however, medicine was not available at that time. Elizabeth knew that she had a problem with rage. She took it out in different ways. She did not beat her children. She believes that rage can be inherited. Perhaps it can, or perhaps it is a learned trait.
I can hardly blame her for the sermon the young Elizabeth unleashed on the congregation of her church. She must have seen them as evil to sit by and allow the abuse to continue. She saw them as hypocrites. Mahlou turned her back on God, because she thought he had turned his back on her.
Mahlou continues to share bits and pieces of her adult life, including her stint in the army. She speaks of her handicapped children. Mahlou fought for equality for her children. Time after time, things happened that many would call coincidences. Eventually, Elizabeth Mahlou came to know them as blessings from God.
One of the most astute statements in this book is “There is a clear difference between an easy life and a good life.” Elizabeth’s life has not been, easy but her adult years have been good.
Blest Atheist is an unusual book. Elizabeth Mahlou has led an unusual life. It is easy to see how intelligent she is. 2/3 or more of this book is spent discussing her childhood. I hope that putting all of that terrible time on paper gives her closure. Many would never be able to forgive such abuse. As Elizabeth has discovered, with God all things are possible. I wish her well and all of God’s blessings.