Monday, 7 June 2010
Chosen by Lesley Glaister
DATE READ: June 2010
NOTES: After Dodie finds her mother dead from suicide she seeks out her younger brother but is told he has gone to America to stay with relatives. As Dodie is unaware of any relatives she sets out to find him. She is led to a religious community in New York State but instead of finding Seth and bringing him home she is gradually drawn into the cult by a mixture of curiosity, persuasion and mind-altering drugs. This is possibly the best part of the book – very effectively written – as we feel Dodie being drawn more and more into a dangerous situation.
The second part of the book is written by Dodie’s aunt Melanie who is a long term resident of the Soul-Life Community. She is in complete thrall to the leader Adam and again and again finds herself being persuaded to make wrong choices against her better judgement. However I was not convinced by why anyone would really respond to Adam. He was rather a laughable and pathetic character but only Stella (seriously depressed and possibly mentally ill) sees through him. Though, having said that, I suppose most cults are filled with vulnerable or damaged people just waiting to be told “the truth”.
The writer evokes the atmosphere of a cult community brilliantly and it is a compelling read. But if you would like a story about happy family life this is not for you!