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Read All The Things! Reviews

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Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the People's Temple

Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the People's Temple - Deborah Layton It's so difficult for me to review memoirs. I've avoided doing it because I don't know how. It's not fair to critique someone's memories, and a lot of people who write memoirs aren't professional writers, so it's difficult to critique the writing. This is one of the reasons why I don't read many memoirs. I'm never sure how to feel about them, and I feel bad if I don't like them.

Fortunately, I liked this one. This book obviously wasn't written by someone who has a ton of experience with writing books, but it is an extremely compelling memoir that deserves to be read. It tells the story of how the author became involved with the Peoples Temple as a teenager and how she escaped several months before the massacre occurred. The author's resiliency and courage are astounding. I was amazed that she could be under so much stress and still keep functioning. I also appreciated the author's honesty and attention to detail. This memoir does a great job of showing how people become involved with malignant cults and why they stay in the cult when things start getting crazy.

If I have to criticize a technical aspect of the book, I think the pacing is a little off. Some parts, especially toward the middle, dragged on too long for me. I kept thinking, Okay, I get it, time to move on. A few other parts felt like they moved too fast. I wanted the author to slow down and explain things better.

With that being said, this is a fascinating book. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and I don't think I'll be forgetting it any time soon.