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If writing is an evacuation tool to process and understand abuse, Kohn has done an excellent job of producing a text that...

A teacher and leadership consultant takes readers into the crevices of a cult.

Growing up in New York in the 1970s, debut author Kohn had few points of reference through which she could make sense of the world around her. She and her brother, Robbie, were caught in the throes of their parents’ belief in the Unification Church, founded by a self-appointed messiah, Sun Myung Moon (followers were called Moonies). “As a kid you misinterpret the nasty things that happen to and around you, and you somehow believe you’re to blame,” writes the author. “As a young adult, I internalized this more and more. As an older adult, I still can. I get lost in darkness and desperation. I can feel unworthy or damaged or hopeless. I have my scars and insecurities, my fears that feel like they’ll engulf me. I can be washed over with shame.” The austere tone of this introductory passage doesn’t quite represent the vivacity with which Kohn writes about her struggle breaking out of the mold in which her parents trapped her. The author explores her teenage years, when she interacted with peers who knew nothing about her strict behavioral guidelines, the boyfriends who came in and out of her life as her dogma changed, and her shifting relationship with her father. Some qualify the Unification Church as a cult, and Kohn appears to agree with that line of thought. But this is not just an inside-the-cult book; this is the story of a woman who attempted everything in her power to get out of it. “I learned on my journey through self-help programs that I had experienced covert abuse,” writes the author. “Too much had happened to me and around me, and much of it had been off-kilter.”

If writing is an evacuation tool to process and understand abuse, Kohn has done an excellent job of producing a text that oozes with honesty and truth.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-942762-44-7

Page Count: 242

Publisher: Heliotrope Books

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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