Review by bootsie0126+ -- The Cult Next Door

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bootsie0126+
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Review by bootsie0126+ -- The Cult Next Door

Post by bootsie0126+ » 07 Sep 2018, 20:54

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Cult Next Door" by Elizabeth R. Burchard, Judith L. Carlone.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Most people believe that members of cults are idiots, deranged, unstable, nutty-as-a-fruitcake, odd, or weak-minded individuals who live in secluded complexes elsewhere and wear weird clothing. These myths are far from the truth. Remarkably, members of cults are extremely bright, well-balanced, flexible and often optimistic people and although some cults live in unconventional ways, most members are ordinary citizens living among us. The Cult Next Door: A Manhattan Memoir by Elizabeth R. Burchard and Judith L. Carlone is a mind-blowing story of how a young girl got roped in a fanatical cult and her years of struggle for freedom.

In this true story, Burchard narrates her years of manipulation, brainwashing, and betrayal by the mesmerizing guru George Sharkman. First introduced to him by her mother as a biofeedback therapist, Elizabeth, and many others are searching for comprehension and guidance in life. Professing truth about the world and the existence of life, Sharkman knows just what to say to lure members to "The Group." This book is an eye-opener for people who can’t comprehend how easy it is to fall victim to manipulation if the perfect condition arises.

The Cult Next Door is a disheartening, inspirational, and gripping story narrated in the first-person point of view from Elizabeth and her friend, Judith Carlone. The story is broken into two sections. In the first half, Elizabeth presents a riveting and brutally honest perception of cults, the emotional and mental manipulation into the cult, and everything that it encompasses. The author could have easily written this book as a self-pity story, reciting endlessly how imprisoned Sharkman made her feel. However, I applaud the author on narrating the story from the viewpoint of her thought processing and feelings in situations.

The second half of the book, the disentanglement and healing process after decades of mind control, from an outside glimpse of the co-author, gives a clever association to the story. Twenty years, a chance encounter, and the support and guidance of a friend lead to Elizabeth’s escape from Sharkman and “The Group.” Cleverly written, this book shifts among the expressions of the author and co-author, giving it an intriguing observation of identical situations from two different viewpoints.

I enjoyed reading this book. Elizabeth’s simplistic nature drew me to her personality. The writing style made it easy to relate to the characters. I saluted her triumphs and experienced the core of her defeats. The easy read fast pace and continuous flow of the storyline created a captivating, page-turner that I would recommend to those partial to true stories and interested in the inner workings of a cult. An added bonus to this book is the discussion questions located at the end.

The Cult Next Door is a good book to read. I found only a few grammar errors and typos but it did not affect the rating. I gave this book 3 out of 4 stars. I deducted one star for two reasons. First, although the story spans over 30 years, it seemed like the complete story lasted only one year from the living room of Starkman’s home. Second, is the ending. The pace of the book at the end slowed almost to a stop. The dialogue dragged on without context. However, I think readers will enjoy this book.

******
The Cult Next Door
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Kajori50
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Post by Kajori50 » 08 Sep 2018, 03:08

The book seems to be a brave one. It is quite difficult to narrate one's experiences without being at least a little partial. I look forward to read Elizabeth's story.

Thank you for the great review.

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bootsie0126+
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Latest Review: The Cult Next Door by Elizabeth R. Burchard, Judith L. Carlone
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Post by bootsie0126+ » 08 Sep 2018, 15:28

Kajori50 wrote: ↑
08 Sep 2018, 03:08
The book seems to be a brave one. It is quite difficult to narrate one's experiences without being at least a little partial. I look forward to read Elizabeth's story.

Thank you for the great review.
Thank you for your comment. I agree that partiality is sometimes difficult to avoid, however, this is what I enjoyed about how the author approached this story. She gave the reader all the terrible and crazy events that occurred but she also related how she was feeling and thinking at the time. She allowed the reader to see how easy it was to be manipulated in certain circumstances.

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kfwilson6
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Post by kfwilson6 » 11 Sep 2018, 13:17

"Most people believe that members of cults are idiots, deranged, unstable, nutty-as-a-fruitcake, odd, or weak-minded individuals who live in secluded complexes elsewhere and wear weird clothing. "

Love this intro, and I think you are right. This is an interesting concept for a book. It sounds very educational. Cults are definitely something many people don't know about or even want to know about. But in case they want a safe, distant way to learn, this book seems like the source.

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bootsie0126+
Posts: 247
Joined: 11 Mar 2018, 19:36
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Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bootsie0126.html
Latest Review: The Cult Next Door by Elizabeth R. Burchard, Judith L. Carlone
Reading Device: B01GEW27DA

Post by bootsie0126+ » 13 Sep 2018, 21:57

kfwilson6 wrote: ↑
11 Sep 2018, 13:17
"Most people believe that members of cults are idiots, deranged, unstable, nutty-as-a-fruitcake, odd, or weak-minded individuals who live in secluded complexes elsewhere and wear weird clothing. "

Love this intro, and I think you are right. This is an interesting concept for a book. It sounds very educational. Cults are definitely something many people don't know about or even want to know about. But in case they want a safe, distant way to learn, this book seems like the source.
This book was insightful. Many people do not understand how people get into cults and how they stay in so long. After reading this book, I understand how easy it is for some people to get caught up in a cult. We all have weaknesses in one form or another and it is understandable to see how a master manipulator can lure a person in depending on what that person is missing or searching for in their life. Once a person is hooked, often times it is difficult to get out even when a person knows the situation is bad.

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kfwilson6
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Post by kfwilson6 » 14 Sep 2018, 08:33

bootsie0126+ wrote: ↑
13 Sep 2018, 21:57
kfwilson6 wrote: ↑
11 Sep 2018, 13:17
"Most people believe that members of cults are idiots, deranged, unstable, nutty-as-a-fruitcake, odd, or weak-minded individuals who live in secluded complexes elsewhere and wear weird clothing. "

Love this intro, and I think you are right. This is an interesting concept for a book. It sounds very educational. Cults are definitely something many people don't know about or even want to know about. But in case they want a safe, distant way to learn, this book seems like the source.
This book was insightful. Many people do not understand how people get into cults and how they stay in so long. After reading this book, I understand how easy it is for some people to get caught up in a cult. We all have weaknesses in one form or another and it is understandable to see how a master manipulator can lure a person in depending on what that person is missing or searching for in their life. Once a person is hooked, often times it is difficult to get out even when a person knows the situation is bad.
Jonestown is a very famous and interesting example of the power of a cult. Incredibly sad story, but one worth reading about for anyone who is interested in this topic.

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