Logo for: North Carolina Writer's Network
Back to Book Buzz

Untethered: Faith, Failure, and Finding Solid Ground

Untethered: Faith, Failure, and Finding Solid Ground

By Laura WhitfieldPublisher: She Writes PressISBN: 978-1-64742-221-9Genre: Nonfiction: MemoirPrice: $16.95, paperback / $8.99, e-book

When Laura Whitfield was fourteen, her extraordinary brother, Lawrence, was killed in a mountain climbing accident. That night she had an epiphany: Life is short. Dream big, even if it means taking risks. After graduating from high school, she set out on her own to do just that, taking her from North Carolina's Outer Banks to disco-era New York City and home again. Untethered is a stirring memoir about a young woman’s quest to find hope and stability after devastating loss. Ultimately, it’s about overcoming shame, embracing faith, and learning that taking risks—and failing—can lead to a bigger life than you've ever dared to imagine.

Laura grew up in Raleigh, the daughter of a journalist and a teacher. She has been an advertising copywriter, newspaper columnist, staff writer for an international relief agency, travel writer, blogger, teacher, communications director for several nonprofits, and a personal assistant to a New York Times bestselling author. Laura is passionate about her faith, books, travel, nature (especially the beach), social justice, and her family. She lives in Winston-Salem with her husband, Stephen.


. . . Whitfield’s narration is often engaging in its spirited expression of a resolute search for meaning. A candid and inspirational coming-of-age story.

Kirkus Reviews

When life falls apart, it’s easy to assume you’re alone in your suffering. Or worse, that you’re stuck there. Untethered is a haunting exploration of life’s disorienting darkness, punctuated by lightning strikes of hope. Laura forces readers to confront the vulnerability of being human while offering a rousing call to more abundant life. If you’ve ever felt blindsided by disappointment and disillusionment, Laura’s journey of faith amid failure is not to be missed. Highly recommend!

Jonathan Merritt, contributing writer for The Atlantic and author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch

With radiant honesty, Whitfield tells the story of losing her beloved brother, which set her on a quest to find emotional and spiritual sanctuary. We follow her wild years in the Outer Banks, New York City, and Chapel Hill, where she seeks solace in men, jobs, and her writing. What she must learn is how to find a way ‘for my faith and my life to line up.’ Whitfield’s frank, vibrant memoir reads with the page-turning urgency of a novel you can’t put down. Fans of Mary Karr’s Lit and Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies will want to read this book.

Marianne Gingher, Professor of English and Creative Writing, UNC, and author of A Girl’s Life and Adventures in Pen Land