Top critical review
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Needed to be written; could have been written better.
on 9 February 2010
I think there is a temptation to judge books like this, not on the basis of how well written they are, but on the extent to which we sympathise with the author's point of view. It is impossible not to sympathise with the authors in this case, and I have no doubt of the truth of what they are saying. The closest I ever came to being involved with the COG was as a target for a failed attempt at flirty fishing in the mid-1970's, but I do have some experience in another organisation which, although much more mainstream and respectable then the COG, is somewhere on the same continuum, so many aspects of this book had the ring of truth for me. I think that what these three young women have done by leaving the organisation and then laying their lives bare so publicly is both very brave and very helpful to others in similar situations. But then to return to my first point, I feel that the book could have been much better written. I found it confusing; I was not always sure who was who, or whose voice I was listening to at any one time, and I was unable to keep track of the host of different characters and locations. I can appreciate the authors' difficulty; this is after all a factual book and not a novel, so it could be argued that too much editing or streamlining would do a disservice to the truth. I just found it a bit long and heavy-going towards the end. Perhaps if each of the sisters had written their stories completely separately they could have been presented as a trilogy. The three sisters had left the COG at different times, Juliana having left very shortly before this book was written. Perhaps a little more time for reflection would have helped, but perhaps it would have blunted its edge. If one or all of them were to write a follow up from a longer perspective in a few years from now, I would be interested in reading it.