- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Gotham (October 13, 2011)
Donna Johnson’s remarkable story of being raised under the biggest gospel tent in the world, by David Terrell, one of the most famous evangelical ministers of the 1960s and 70s. Holy Ghost Girl is a compassionate, humorous exploration of faith, betrayal, and coming of age on the sawdust trail.
She was just three years old when her mother signed on as the organist of tent revivalist David Terrell, and before long, Donna Johnson was part of the hugely popular evangelical preacher’s inner circle. At seventeen, she left the ministry for good, with a trove of stranger- than-fiction memories. A homecoming like no other, Holy Ghost Girl brings to life miracles, exorcisms, and faceoffs with the Ku Klux Klan. And that’s just what went on under the tent.
As Terrell became known worldwide during the 1960s and ’70s, the caravan of broken-down cars and trucks that made up his ministry evolved into fleets of Mercedes and airplanes. The glories of the Word mixed with betrayals of the flesh and Donna’s mother bore Terrell’s children in one of the several secret households he maintained. Thousands of followers, dubbed “Terrellites” by the press, left their homes to await the end of the world in cultlike communities. Jesus didn’t show, but the IRS did, and the prophet/healer went to prison.
Recounted with deadpan observations and surreal detail, Holy Ghost Girl bypasses easy judgment to articulate a rich world in which the mystery of faith and human frailty share a surprising and humorous coexistence.
Donna M. Johnson has written about religion for The Dallas Morning News and other publications. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, the poet and author Kirk Wilson.
Donna M. Johnson’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, October 4th: Joyfully Retired
Wednesday, October 5th: Melody & Words
Thursday, October 6th: Bermuda Onion
Monday, October 10th: Chaotic Compendiums
Thursday, October 13th: In the Next Room
Friday, October 14th: Books, Movies, and Chinese Food
Friday, October 14th: Colloquium
Monday, October 17th: Raging Bibliomania
Tuesday, October 18th: Amused by Books
Wednesday, October 19th: Book Addiction
Monday, October 24th: BookNAround
Tuesday, October 25th: Life in Review
Wednesday, October 26th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Thursday, October 27th: Broken Teepee
Thursday, October 27th: Books Like Breathing
Monday, January 9th: A Fair Substitute for Heaven