Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult that Bound My Life, by Kristine Gasbarre, Sarah Edmondson
jenscozylife's review against another edition
byamyholland's review against another edition
lizthelibrarian's review against another edition
isabella_jo's review against another edition
rachel_rat's review against another edition
Moderate: Eating disorder and Sexual assault
nain's review against another edition
Graphic: Sexual content, Sexual violence, Slavery, Torture, Trafficking, and Violence
Moderate: Adult/minor relationship, Emotional abuse, Eating disorder, and Gaslighting
kirstinreviews's review against another edition
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
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.
—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)