1 out of 4 stars
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A world of a cult-style pill popping and yo-yo dieting sounds like a modern and interesting (if not exciting) read that should easily be relatable in our modern times, but some might discover that The Cult Next Door by Elizabeth R. Burchard, Judith L. Carlone falls short of any excitement or interest.
Liz, a freshman in college, visits her mom on Thanksgiving Holiday. She walks through the front door and is assaulted by memories, heartache and dust.
Nothing happens after that. She devotes pages talking about the disconnect she feels from her mother, the countless ways her mother disappointed her and the recent death of her fiance. She also mentions the therapy sessions she had to endure as a child, but no action ever really takes place in the story.
Even in memoirs, there needs to be some form of action happening in the plot to keep readers hooked. This book simply fails in this area, leaving the reader begging for more from the characters and plots. I felt like the author was holding back a lot in the story and trying to stay detached and in doing so, it affected her writing on a large scale.
Speaking of characters, I was so disconnected from Liz, that upon writing this review I had to search her name multiple times for remembering it. I found her character stale, unrelatable, and unrealistic, as well as many of the other characters in the story. The strange thing is, I know people in real life who act just like these characters. I felt it should've been easy to connect to them, but that wasn’t the case.
On the other hand, the grammar was well done and I didn’t notice any massive errors in the text. The format was simple and the style was solid, so on that, the author did a great job. Other than that however, the book doesn’t really stand out. I was excited to read this book and perhaps got my expectations up a little too much, because the book just fell short of almost everything.
For these reasons I would have to rate the book a 1 out of 4 stars. Adult women who enjoy memoirs or books like The Bell Jar might find this book interesting, but men and young adults will probably not enjoy this book if you’re looking for something exciting. I would not recommend this to anyone younger than a senior in high school.
The Cult Next Door
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