When We Were On Fire by Addie Zierman

Genre: Religion Memoir
Release Date: October 15th, 2013
Number of Pages: 256
Publisher: Convergent an imprint of The Crown Publishing Group

Tag Line: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over

// Summary (from Amazon) //  

In the strange, us-versus-them Christian subculture of the 1990s, a person’s faith was measured by how many WWJD bracelets she wore and whether he had kissed dating goodbye.
Evangelical poster child Addie Zierman wore three bracelets asking what Jesus would do. She also led two Bible studies and listened exclusively to Christian music. She was on fire for God and unaware that the flame was dwindling—until it burned out.
Addie chronicles her journey through church culture and first love, and her entrance—unprepared and angry—into marriage. When she drops out of church and very nearly her marriage as well, it is on a sea of tequila and depression. She isn’t sure if she’ll ever go back.
When We Were on Fire is a funny, heartbreaking story of untangling oneself from what is expected to arrive at faith that is not bound by tradition or current church fashion. Addie looks for what lasts when nothing else seems worth keeping. It’s a story for doubters, cynics, and anyone who has felt alone in church.

// My thoughts on When We Were On Fire //

Our stories may not be the same, but I grew up in a wonderful Christian home in the very midst of the whole super-evangelical era too, so I can understand the joy and pain of it all. And eerily, the latter half of that phrase I just shared with you feels almost like a sobbing confession, rather than a proud admission. Don't get me wrong. I cling to my faith, not bound by title or tradition, tightly. I love Jesus, and His people. But I have definitely been hurt by my fair share of overly zealous "Church People" over the last 24 years, like the author herself. Fast forward to now: I have found love and grace and forgiveness. And it looks a lot like Jesus. 

But enough about me.

Addie's story of faith-on-fire, faith lost, then faith reborn, is inspiring and heartbreaking and thought-provoking, all entwined together in an easy to read, gorgeously blue-covered package. If you want to know the truth, well, I kind of couldn't stop reading this book, because it just completely resonates with me and my wandering-soul right now. 

On another note, can I just fawn over the layout of this redemption filled story for a moment? There are 4 moving parts to this memoir: Obsession, Disillusion, Rebellion, and Redemption. Each section spoke to my heart in such a unique way, because I felt like I had and have been seeing a lot of these faith motions in my own spiritual life within the last 24 years. Oh, and the chapters? The chapters are brilliantly segmented off with different Christianese Vocab, like: Three-Minute Testimony, True Love Waits, Born Again, Evangelicalism, WWJD, etc. 

We may as well get real here . . . I don't think I've ever nodded my head up-and-down in such an oh-my-gosh-I-totally-get-what-you're-saying-girlfriend way so many times in a row. This memoir is chock full of those shockingly true revelation filled moments, when it comes to talking, and having lived the evangelical life through all of its ups and downs, that is. So, if you are looking for hope and grace and a glimpse into some real gritty faith-filled questioning and truth-seeking, then you need to meander your way through the unique, vulnerable, and beautifully crafted pages of this memoir. You'll be glad that you did.

* a cautionary note: if you're not comfortable with some occasional blips of cursing, talk of drinking and depression, then this book may ruffle your feathers. but please, do not let this real-life story of redemption pass you by because of a few gritty word-painted real-life moments. mmkay? thanks. *

// About The Author //

Addie Zierman is a writer, blogger and fledgling speaker.

She has an MFA from Hamline University and is the author of When We Were On Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love and Starting Over, through Convergent Books.

She blogs at addiezierman.com, where she's doing the hard work of redefining faith in a world that is significantly less black and white than she once believed it to be.

Addie is a Diet Coke enthusiast with terrible taste in TV and an endless pile of Books-To-Read. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, Andrew, and her two young sons (Dane and Liam).

If you see her out, please don't say anything about the streak of snot on her shirt or All The Yelling. It will only embarrass her.

Click HERE to purchase When We Were On Fire from Amazon.com

Find out more about Addie Zierman at www.AddieZierman.com

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255


  1. You are a great book reviewer, and this book sounds like something I would like to read. :)
    I think slow, steady love is the most enduring.

    1. slow, steady love is the most enduring. yes, yes, yes and amen.

  2. Nice book review, Sarah! Definitely sounds like a good read, one that I could identify with closely. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Jackson. It was one I absolutely identified with too.

  3. Wonderful review! You have definitely peaked my interest in this book :)