Adopted at birth by a family of Jehovah's Witnesses, Joy Castro ran away at fourteen. Now a professor of literature, she composed a literary memoir that explores the fragile intersections of gender, identity, sexuality, religion, violence, ethnicity, and the body.

The Truth Book: A Memoir (2005; University of Nebraska, 2012), was named a Book Sense Notable Book by the American Booksellers Association and adapted and excerpted in The New York Times Magazine. The Truth Book has been adopted as a text in college courses on autobiography, creative nonfiction, Latino literature, psychology, and women’s literature, and it has been chosen as an all-freshman read.


"gorgeous, disturbing, and grippingly alive..."

~ Caroline Leavitt, The Boston Globe

". . . The Truth Book soars in its nightmarish truths--an unforgettable tale of hypocrisy and cruelty."

~ Chas Bowie, The Portland Mercury

"While she is forthright about abuses which she experienced, Castro also introduces us to kind individuals and caring families, relating her own particular experience in spare and lyrical prose. At times it felt like poetry to me, as if there were a lot of white space on the page, although there isn’t. While there is this clean sense to the prose, the details are lush and specific."

~ Anne F. McCoy, Rain Taxi Review of Books

"A brave and lyrical work about all that the human spirit can survive—and what it cannot. Before I picked up this book, I knew nothing about Jehovah's Witnesses beyond what they told me at the door, knew little about what it might feel like to be adopted, but I identified so deeply with this memoir because of the sheer humanity of these individuals and my total trust in the narrator. I'm savoring the inexplicable sense of hope it leaves on my tongue."

~ Ariel Gore, author of Atlas of the Human Heart and The Mother Trip

"When Joy Castro was a girl, her zealously brutal stepfather, in the name of his Jehovah's Witness faith, took away her books. Now, by writing her own book—one so insistently, exquisitely honest that a reader, despite the pain, feels cleansed—Castro gives witness to a higher truth: that of storytelling."

~ Michael Lowenthal, author of The Same Embrace and Avoidance