Jia Apple has written an extraordinary first memoir, riveting and captivating. It is riveting because elements of religion, mental illness, deprivation and abuse are woven through a fabric studded with loyalty, love and hope. It is captivating because it is seen through the eyes of a 14- year-old girl using her intelligence, intuition and imagination to discern how to live in the world. This book will shock with its descriptions of "baked Apples" going through hell training, and will charm with humor. It will touch your heart; it is impossible to put down; it is a must-read.
Barbara Bennett, PhD. Editor & Consultant, Book Publishing
I am fortunate to know the incredible depth of love and compassion that this woman, this author, this survivor, this creative genius Jia Apple embodies.
Buy this book and you will get a glimpse of how to make obstacles into triumphs, how to persevere and choose love. Thank you Jia, for sharing your story.
Teina Barrett Wells
In Oft Made to Wonder, Jia Apple brings to light what has been hidden in the closets of many, told by few, of this generation. This rendition of a family system and it's dysfunction is done in the clear voice of a survivor exploring the depths and shadows of an abusive childhood and the resultant strengths achieved. A must read if only for a celebratory dance of the indomitable spirit of human love, understanding, and forgiveness.
R.Rev. Marita Hacker, D.Div.
Jia Apple’s Oft Made to Wonder is not for the faint-of-heart reader. Dozens of memoirs have been written which transpose into the key of “nice,” that end up declaring, “and they all lived happily ever after.” I avoid those memoirs. I prefer the “Oh my God!!!” memoir. As I read, I thought Jia Apple was holding up a mirror and saying, “Look at your own family narrative” especially for those who grew up among the holiness. I, too, have been “oft made to wonder” who I would be had I not grown up in a “holiness” tradition. Reading about Jia’s parents, family and church stirred raw memories along the corridors of my soul. Jia Apple is a survivor extraordinaire! Others—too many others---have not survived such a childhood and adolescence. Oft Made to Wonder is not a one-read memoir. Rereading it, in order to write this endorsement, although knowing what was coming on the next page, in the next chapter, still ambushed me. Am I glad I read Oft Made to Wonder? I am. Jia’s writing is a witness, much needed, asserting that one can survive the unimaginable, the indefensible. God—the real God---devises ways to bring the wounded home to his heart. Jia’s honesty and diligence in confronting memories and wrestling words and memories onto pages, is what someone---many someones—need to read today. Jia’s courageous hope captured on these pages will touch lives beyond her knowledge.
Harold Ivan Smith, DMIN, FT 21 November 2017