jenscozylife's review against another edition

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dark emotional hopeful informative inspiring sad tense medium-paced

5.0

byamyholland's review against another edition

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...no matter what anyone else says, you are loved, you are whole, and you are already complete.

lizthelibrarian's review against another edition

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2.0

It seems that I cannot go a month or two without reading a book about a cult, so here I am! Before this book, I had very little knowledge of NXIVM. This book will take you on Sarah Edmondson's twelve-year journey on how she got into NXIVM and how she escaped. It is a short book, around two-hundred pages filled with interesting details about how NXIVM brought people into the cult, and how it eventually blackmailed people into staying. I found my attention span ebb during this book, but I think it was because this book covers twelve years. Overall, it was an interesting read about a cult that recently got media attention.

isabella_jo's review against another edition

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challenging informative reflective

3.75

rachel_rat's review against another edition

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dark emotional medium-paced

3.75


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ahavahlovely's review against another edition

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fast-paced

4.5

nain's review against another edition

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dark emotional informative inspiring medium-paced

5.0


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kirstinreviews's review against another edition

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3.0

Let me be honest, this story is horrifying. Reading the first hand account, it’s heartbreaking. I’m hoping to read Captive (also about NXIVM) at a later date. I thought about not rating this book, since it’s hard to rate someone’s personal experience.

I will say this, it does read as though someone is pouring the thoughts out of their head. Not like stream of consciouseness, but more of I have to get this out. I wish Sarah had gone more into the details of the undoing of NXIVM and into some other first hand accounts, but as she puts it, that’s the other women’s story to tell, not hers.

I originally saw this on Amazon, but picked it up at Chapters, and I don’t regret it. Sarah actually mentions Cathrine (the author of Captive) in this book, so I think the two books combined would be an interesting study read. One from someone who was in the organization; the other a mother who saw her daughter go through these things. I don’t think I’ll be reading Captive soon, since I want to sit with Scarred, but I think I’d recommend people reading these two books together.

christy_1980's review against another edition

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4.0

It’s pretty rare to get a nonfiction review from me. My interests in nonfiction are fairly specific and very eclectic, for lack of a better term. I will pickup almost anything African-American. I love books on the opioid epidemic, Mexican immigration, and books featuring admirable (not cutthroat) business women and men such as Howard Schultz of Starbucks and Phil Knight of Nike as well as business crime including scandals like Enron and Theranos. I read some personal growth books and from time to time I get caught up in certain true crime cases such as the Lacey Peterson case, based solely on circumstantial evidence. I think I read about 10 books on that case alone. Scarred is the start of another obsession for me. It is based on the NXIVM cult and this is only the first book in a stack of information that I have been working to get my hands on.

I’m sure you’ve heard something about it in the news, if nothing else some buzz words. Keith Raniere. Smallville actress Allison Mack. Sex Cult. Branding.

This is one woman’s account of how she got involved with NXIVM, her 12-year stint with the organization becoming one of the highest members of instructors and recruiters, how the organization took a dark turn and her blowing the whistle on what was happening before she got sucked further into the abyss.

I have read about different cults before, always wondering how the hell people managed to allow others to so fully control them that they succombed to brainwashing, abuse, and even death. With NXIVM, I can completely understand how it was able to collect so many followers and for so long under the guise of a personal growth and empowerment groups...because what human isn’t constantly seeking that?

Pirating from all sorts of existing philosophies including Scientology, The Four Agreements, Dianetics, the martial arts system of growth, and ultimately components of Hinduism and the Klu Klux Klan, Keith Raniere developed a complex university of human potential. Most of the concepts are actually pretty stellar ideas—credit to the people who originally devised them—and had NXIVM continued in a direction for good, it could have done some pretty great things, much like Hitler, but we all know how that story ends.

What started off as hopeful, inspiring, motivating, and life-changing turned into a dark, dominating and gross abuse of power over people, but more specifically over a smaller group of women and their bodies.

With everything involved in NXIVM over the course of the years, the key players, Sarah Edmonson being one, I have been completely fascinated by everything that continues to be revealed about this secret organization. Sarah’s account is thorough—you will learn a lot about the philosophies, vocabulary, rules, and rituals. You get her version of events right up until she was branded to be in DOS, the secret women’s group being groomed to become sexual partners for Raniere, along with her escape from the organization and attempts to save all of those she had recruited.

Sarah Edmondson is brave, courageous, inspiring, compassionate, empathetic, and beautiful.

Although I’m reading a lot of stuff about NXIVM, this will probably be the only review I post so I’m including further reading that I am doing in case you want to embark on this little obsession with me.

Further reading:
—Captive by Catherine Oxenburg (a mother’s account of rescuing her daughter from sex slavery in NXIVM)
—Don’t Call It A Cult by Sarah Berman (journalist’s reports of various women who have escaped NXIVM and their experiences in the cult)
—The Program: Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and the Rise and Fall of NXIVM by Toni Natalie (former girlfriend of Raniere’s who was ostracized and attacked after leaving him and his organization at the time prior to the official start of NXIVM)
—Articles by Forbes (October 2003) and The New York Times magazine (October 2017/July 2018)

aimeedarsreads's review against another edition

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3.0

NOTE: Photo gallery not in Kindle edition