Tag Archive: cults


unorthodox  Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

Published: January 1st, 2012

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

The instant New York Times bestselling memoir of a young Jewish woman’s escape from a religious sect, in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel and Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, featuring a new epilogue by the author. As a member of the strictly religious Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, Deborah Feldman grew up under a code of relentlessly enforced customs governing everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak to what she was allowed to read. It was stolen moments spent with the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott that helped her to imagine an alternative way of life. Trapped as a teenager in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man she barely knew, the tension between Deborah’s desires and her responsibilities as a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until she gave birth at nineteen and realized that, for the sake of herself and her son, she had to escape.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

I’ve been a bad bad reviewer. I haven’t managed to read more than a single book this entire year. Okay, one and a half if I’m being honest…I am halfway through another. But, in my defense I did give birth and now have a 5 month old daughter. So I’ve been a teensy bit busy. But I found time to read! While I’m at work pumping milk for my baby, that’s a whole half hour that could be spent reading instead of browsing Facebook or playing Candy Crush.

This was a quick read but a good one. Feldman paints a vivid picture with her words and transports you directly to her world. I was engrossed in the story. One would like to think that things like this don’t happen in a free country, but alas it does. I lived through a similar religious experience (with a different religion of course) and was interested to see how much these experiences overlap. Not surprisingly, the answer is quite a lot. Religious abuse is a real thing.

While I am aware of the accusations of exaggeration and lying by the author, I personally choose to give the benefit of the doubt. People do behave this way. People in such strict religions do these kinds of things. And when someone dares to leave the flock, their former community throws mud all day long to try and discredit them. I can’t say for sure that is what is happening in this case, but it seems logical.

As a woman and a mother, I found the book infuriating. I can sympathize with how utterly out of the place the author felt in the world that she had been born into. Her yearnings for more were palpable. I found myself rooting for her to succeed and break free from what felt like such a confining life. I can’t say much more about this book except that I found it very compelling.

And now I hear someone yelling at daddy for a nursing, so I will wrap up. Hopefully I can make at least one more review this year…we’ll see lol.

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Last Days by Adam Nevill

last days Last Days by Adam Nevill

Published February 26th, 2013 by St. Martin’s Press

Cover and synopsis provided by the publisher.

 

Buy this book at: Book Depository / Books A Million / Amazon / B&N

 

Synopsis:

Indie filmmaker Kyle Freeman is hired to create a documentary about The Temple of the Last Days—a notorious cult that met its chilling end in an Arizona desert back in 1975. As he travels to the cult’s birthplaces in London and France, and its infamous demise in the United States, a series of uncanny events plague all his shoots: out-of-body experiences, visits in the night, ghastly artifacts appearing in their rooms each evening, and the deaths of their interviewees.

What exactly it is the cult managed to awaken – and what is its interest in Kyle Freeman?

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

There is only one way to put this.  This book sucked.  It sucked to high heaven.  It bored me nearly to death with every page.  I honestly wondered if all of the good reviews were paid to say nice things about this crappy tome.  Even as I write this, I think that might still be the case.  With all that said, here are my issues with this crappy thing.

The author has zero sense of pacing.  This book moved at a snail’s pace for chapter upon chapter and then suddenly all kinds of things started to happen in the last quarter of it.  The idea of this book is a good one, a filmmaker is hired to do a documentary about a cult from the seventies that committed mass suicide/murder and manages to stumble into paranormal activity that targets him.  That sounds like it should be good right?  It’s not.  In every single city or location the characters visit the exact same things happen.  Every person the characters interviewed said exactly the same thing.    Approximately 300 pages was a repeat of what happened in the first 100 pages. I was bored to tears.

The author’s descriptions were annoying and confusing.  I didn’t understand what was going on most of the time.  As an example, the author described the room in which the last scene takes place for 2 whole pages.  The picture of it was fully formed in my head and it was a great description!  But then all of a sudden he starts talking about a “large plastic tent” in the middle of the room that had never been mentioned before.  Then just a few paragraphs later it’s described as a “plastic cube” that is solid enough that it requires beating it and shooting at it to dismantle it.  But, I thought it was a tent?  And why wasn’t this included in the initial room description if it’s so important?  If it was a tent then why was it so hard to puncture?  By the time I got to this question I had been pulled completely out of the story and just didn’t give a crap anymore.  This happened so often that I was regularly confused and thought I had skipped over something accidentally.  So I would go back and re-read that part and realize, no I hadn’t skipped over it, it was never addressed.

Most stereotypical American characters ever!  Let’s see, there was the sheriff who was a complete hillbilly.  Cowboy hat and boots, spoke with a drawl, kept saying things like “ya’ll” and “ain’t”, could have walked right out of a western…but he’s from Arizona.  Yeah, it confused me too.  Or Jed, the gun toting, muscle bound Jesus freak who thinks he’s on a mission for God, is unstable and keeps pointing guns at his own friends.  I mean, really?  All we needed was an overweight, outspoken black woman and the stereotypes would have been a complete collection!  It was ridiculous.

Kyle was supremely unlikable.  He spent most of the book mentally belittling and mocking the people he was interviewing for believing in this paranormal stuff.  Then he went on to experience the paranormal stuff himself and freaked out, running around and screaming at everyone else to figure out a way to protect him.  Shut up dirtbag!  Nobody likes you!  Just die already and quit your whining.  I hated this guy so much.

I was very disappointed that I hated the book this much.  I heard this author compared to my favorite author, Scott Sigler, and was excited to see if that comparison held true.  It most certainly does not!  This author has no sense of pacing, storytelling, or character building.  I can’t, in good conscience recommend this book to anyone, it was awful.