Big Books & Bold Ideas with Kerri Miller

Rachel Louise Snyder's memoir is as beautifully complex as her life.

Woman poses next to separate photo of book cover
Rachel Louise Snyder's powerful memoir, "Women We Buried, Women We Burned," recounts the violence she endured as a child within a strict evangelical church, and her quest to build a new life on her own terms.
Courtesy Don Rutledge, Bloomsbury

“Cancer took my mother. But religion would take my life.”

So writes journalist Rachel Louise Snyder in her new memoir, “Women We Buried, Women We Burned.”

It recounts with brutal honesty how the death of her mother upended her previously peaceful world, launching her father into a new marriage within the confines of a strict, fundamentalist Christianity. Violence and rage became her new norm, until she was kicked out at age 16 for refusing the obey the many rules her father imposed.

But that dark moment turned out to be a gift. Snyder found support in unlikely places and forged a new path, one where light and dark coexist and where forgiveness is not synonymous with exoneration.

This week, on Big Books and Bold Ideas, Snyder joins MPR host Kerri Miller to talk about her journeys. They discuss how the prosperity gospel dismantles human agency, how her work investigating violence led her to think about her own, and how travel can heal past wounds and open up new vistas.

Guest:

Use the audio player above to listen to the podcast version of the conversation.

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