Published in the October 31 – November 13, 2018 issue of Gilroy Life

Photo courtesy Andi Joseph
Friends, Lora, left, and Andi, right, celebrate Carly’s birthday. 

Many years ago when I worked for another local newspaper, we hired a new employee — a young reporter who had recently moved with her husband from Boston where she’d gone to college. I didn’t know it at the time, but she’d become a good friend, an inspiring woman, and genuinely one of the funniest people I know.

Not too long after she started, she got pregnant with her first daughter. I think most of the newsroom knew she was pregnant before she even got confirmation; her random morning-sickness retching would echo through the newsroom as she’d make a mad dash for the bathroom. There were whispers of “Is she pregnant?” weeks before she confirmed.

Now a mom of two girls and pregnant with her third, Gilroyan Carly Gelsinger — whom many of you may be familiar with through her journalism career and community involvement — has added a new title to her portfolio: book author.

I generally wouldn’t write about a book, but this one has at least two good things going for it: No. 1 of course, Carly is a friend, and No. 2, I read an early release copy of her memoir, and her story is traumatic, inspirational, and one that needs to be heard.

Photo courtesy Andi Joseph
The cover of “Once You Go In: A Memoir of Radical Faith.”

Her book, “Once You Go In: A Memoir of Radical Faith,” was officially released this month. It details her youth involved in a small mountain community church that she eventually has to painfully peel herself away from. I knew a little about her story simply from friend-talk through the years, but reading it gave me an entirely new perspective on her and who she is.

My own childhood Baptist days are long behind me. As an adult, I’ve found a comfortable place in non-denominational Christianity offering acceptance of all and judgment of none.

But I had some concerns that there might be some generalities about religion in the book that could be off-putting.

The central idea behind “Once You Go In” is Carly’s experience inside of a cult-like church. But every chapter delves into the unique life of a girl trying to find her place in the world, covering everything from dating, to family issues, to a particularly — and personally — poignant chapter focusing on a devastating wildfire that brought me to tears.

Though much of the book is written in the voice of “young Carly,” her growth into an adult is clear, as she comes to terms with the intertwining aspects of the childhood that made her the strong woman I know and love today.

If you’re looking for a new book to curl up with as the weather begins to cool down, support a local author and check out Carly Gelsinger’s “Once You Go In: A Memoir of Radical Faith.”

Andrea “Andi” Joseph worked in newspapers for 18 years before transitioning to her current career as a website content writer and marketer. She lives south of Gilroy with her two dogs, Bailey and Cricket. Email her at andij75@gmail.com.

Andi Joseph

Andi Joseph

Andrea “Andi” Joseph worked in newspapers for 18 years before transitioning to her current career as a website content writer and marketer. She lives south of Gilroy with her two dogs, Bailey and Cricket. Email her at andij75@gmail.com.
Andi Joseph