Sep 4, 2008

Book Review: Not Without My Sister

this book i read during lectures.
that's how boring block 13 lectures are, with all those statiscal words like internal validity, confounding validity, sample size, etc.

on to the book!

author: Celeste Jones, Kristina Jones, Juliana Buhring
Publisher: HarperCollins Entertainment (2 Jul 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0007248067
ISBN-13: 978-0007248063
when i saw Erica reading this book, i know i must try it. mainly because it got lovely cover (yeps, i'm a sucker for pretty book cover). the blurb doesn't tell much, but it summarize the whole story beautifully.

This tell the true stories of three sisters, on how they survived and freed themselves from a cult (Children of God, later known as Family of Love, and now the Family International). They were physically and sexually abused, with no one to help, and no way to run from it.

The key character of the story was their father, Christopher Jones aka Simon Peter, whom all the sisters yearned affection for. his reckless behaviour of leaving his children on the hands of the Family members resulted in various sexual encounters for the sisters as early as the age 6 years old. One of their blood-sibling (the Family considered all members as brothers and sisters) died after long years of drug addiction due to dismissal from him (he said that he had a new family and would not care for her since she's in the "System").

The Family lived on the whim of a narcisstic leader, David Berg, also known as Moses David or Mo for short. his words are the rules they lived by, and they memorized every single words that came out of his mouth. he communicated with his followers through series of letters known as Mo's Letters, which will set up new rules, or new whatever. he was the one who said that sharing is loving, and by loving, he allowed the Family to have sex with anyone and everyone as sex is the ultimate form of love.

Later as Mo died, his "wife", Karen Zerby risen up, and appointed herself as the Queen Maria. she too, continued his legacy of free sex, though not as free as during Mo era. during Maria's time, the Family started facing bad press due to confessions and reports from the second generation of the Family, who ran away and quit the cult. many of the second generation have mental problem and one of the Royal Family members , the prince, Davidito, committed murder-suicide, which shaken the Family system.

that's roughly what happened in the Family from the three sisters views. the Family ways were told mostly from Celeste and Juliana's side, since they were in the cult until their 20s while the System side was told by Kristina, since her mother quitted the cult and brought her along when she was 12.

Celeste and Juliana didn't have much life in the Family. they were treated like goods, and when there's trouble, they'll be shipped to another Family base around the world (eg, Japan, Uganda, etc). they never knew the address of the house they were staying, never had an identity of their own. names could be change in an instant, it had no meaning, no significant what so ever. after encountering major events in their life, they decided they had enough and wanting to leave the Family.

orange kite says: scary!!! all those child abuse stories... it makes me feel really grateful of my life. lost childhood was something that cannot be found again. i rarely read these kind of books because, well too depressing to begin with, and i am depressive enough for myself. but for the nice story and not making me feel stupid, i give this one a 9/10.

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