Out of many books I’ve ever read, Not Without My Sister is the only book where I can experience all kinds of emotions in one place.
Sadness, anger, bewilderment, humiliation, resentment, disgust – you name it.
But the biggest emotional turmoil that stands out the most is disturbing.
Yes, this book has so many disturbing moments that can make your skin crawl. This is what you’re going to experience for the most part regardless of which point of view you’re reading.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no issue with reading any books that talk about disturbing things.
Heck, pretty much some of the books that I recommend on my blog tend to be on the disturbing side.
One of the books that come to mind is The Ice Man. This book takes the cake when it comes to having so many twisted, grim and disturbing moments.
How disturbing Not Without My Sister, you wonder?
Imagine seeing the parents standing by the sideline, not doing anything while the other adults were sexually abusing their children.
And the worst part? They turn a blind eye to it in the name of religion.
That’s how disturbing it is.
Of course, this is only a tiny portion of what the book is all about.
There are more disturbing things to come as you find out what these girls were experiencing throughout their childhood and early adulthood.
What Not Without My Sister is all about
This is the book description that I got from Amazon.
The bestselling, devastating account of three sisters torn apart, abused and exploited at the hands of a community that robbed them of their childhood. It reveals three lives, separate but entwined, that have experienced unspeakable horror, unrelenting loyalty and unforgettable courage.
From as early as three years old, Juliana, Celeste and Kristina were separated from their parents and physically and sexually abused by their ‘guardians’ in the infamous religious cult known as the Children of God. They were made to watch and mimic orgies, received love letters and sexual advances from men old enough to be their grandfather and were forced into abusive relationships. They were denied access to formal schooling and medical care, had to busk on the streets, beg for money, and were mercilessly beaten for ‘crimes’ as unpredictable as reading an encyclopaedia.
Finally, unable to live with the guilt of what had happened to her children, their mother escaped with Kristina and her younger siblings, cutting herself off from Celeste in a bid to save her remaining children. Desperate to save her sister, Kristina eventually began a search to find Celeste,but it would be many years until Celeste found the courage to escape, wanting freedom and a different future for the child she was carrying. The suicide of one of their sisters drove Juliana to exit the group a couple of years later.
Now the three sisters have finally come together to reveal in full and horrific detail their existence within the Children of God cult. Their stories reveal a community spread throughout the world and its legacy of anorexia, depression, drug abuse, suicide and even murder. Lives are ripped apart and painstakingly mended with a shared strength that finally enabled the sisters to free themselves from the shadows of their past.
What got me to read this book
Back then, I had this idea where I wanted the enemy for the next book in the Trigger Locked series to be someone from a cult group.
Sure, I can always do random googling to read about other people’s experiences growing up in a cult all their life. I bet that there are plenty of them online.
As much as I enjoy doing random googling, I figured that I should get myself a book instead.
For one, it’s a credible source even if the book is self-published.
And another reason for that is at least I can refer back to the source whenever I need it.
I tend to lose the websites that I used as a reference every time I write a book. So, it’s hard for me to pinpoint the source if I can’t find where I got them in the first place.
Lo and behold, Not Without My Sister was the first book that I came across when I searched for the books related to the cult group on my Kindle app.
Not only the premise of the book seems promising, but the book is friendly to my pocket too since it doesn’t cost that much.
Well, at least when you compare it to other similar books on Amazon.
Will I still buy the book even if I don’t intend to use it as a reference?
I will say yes. It’s hard for me to say no to an eye-opening book like this one.
What makes Not Without My Sister worth reading
If you ever read a book about someone escaping from a religious cult, the story will always be about how the person finally received the courage to leave the cult for good.
Well, Not Without My Sister is the same in that sense. You will still get to hear how Celeste, Kristina, and Juliana finally take the plunge to leave the group.
But unlike any other book with a similar premise, the book isn’t just about their story of growing up in a cult and the tipping point that made them want to leave the group.
What I find interesting about this book is that it gives us a glimpse of how the cult operates and what kind of manipulation tactics that they use to make the members stay no matter what.
Believe it or not, the way this cult operates isn’t that much different from how a mafia would operate.
The only difference is that they’re operating with religion as their facade.
It’s too bad that Celeste is the only person who has a deep insight into the cult’s operation on a higher level. But the others’ experiences are just as good when it comes to how they operate and remain under the radar to this day.
Think only spies and mafia use these tactics to slip under the radar?
You’ll be surprised to know that cult group members, especially the high-ranking ones are using the same tactics as well.
What I didn’t expect when I read the book
I will have to say a detailed description of their experience of doing adult things. It’s so mind-blowing.
And kudos to them for being brave enough to share what they experienced with everyone else.
Sure, you can say what they’re doing is for the sake of making the book interesting.
But I have to beg the differ on that.
I won’t deny that the devil is in the detail when it comes to what makes the story interesting.
But when you experience it yourself and it’s traumatizing and humiliating, it’s hard for you to forget everything.
You will remember everything about it to the last bit and this day.
Having to dance naked in front of everyone else at the age of 5 and being forced to see adults having sex right in front of them at such a young age.
Who could actually forget that?
If you can remember seeing something like that as an adult, imagine seeing those things as a child.
Who should read this book
If you’re curious about the life of someone who was born and raised in a cult group, then you may find this book an interesting read.
Just keep in mind that some parts of the book can be rather unsettling due to their detailed description of their sexual encounters as a child.
Well, they’re in a cult group that is known for making sex being their main philosophy.
So, it can be hard to tell a story without adding sex into the mix.
For the obvious reason, this book is certainly not for the faint-hearted. And it’s also not for those who find the sex-related issues to be offensive.
Where to buy Not Without My Sister book online
As always, you can buy the book in digital or in print on Amazon. Here’s the link to the book page.
Can’t buy the book on Amazon? You can also buy the book in print at Wordery. I highly recommend people to buy books on Wordery because they offer free worldwide shipping.
You can get the book right here at Wordery:
Over to you
What do you think about Not Without My Sister? Are you interested in giving the book a try after reading about it on my blog?
Let me know in the comment below.
P.S When I read about the physical and sexual abuses that these girls have to endure, it reminded me of one of the characters from my novel, The Diary of Modern Cinderella.
Just like Celeste, Kristina, and Juliana, the main character, Risa Akagi, and her stepsister, Chiyu has to endure physical abuse as well.
In the mood to read a light novel that has a disturbing story but with romance in between? You can find out more about the novel right here on Payhip:
Love the story and want to buy the book? Don’t forget to use the coupon code SEKINAMAYUBLOG during checkout to receive 25% off.
The Diary of Modern Cinderella is available for purchase on other retailers as well. Here’s a list of retailers that sell my book.