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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 06/2018
  • 978-1-9822-0618-5 (e)
  • 278 pages
  • $3.99
Paperback Details
  • 06/2018
  • 978-1-9822-0619-2 (sc)
  • 278 pages
  • $18.99
Hardcover Details
  • 06/2018
  • 978-1-9822-0617-8 (hc)
  • 278 pages
  • $35.95
Seeking Oz: My Twelve-Year Journey in a Cult

Ms. McChesney travels down the "Yellow Brick Road" and through the "Dark Forest" as she finds herself getting increasingly entangled and her choices taken from her in a Christian nondenominational fellowship of believers in the late 70s to 1990 in rural United States. As the entanglement progresses to a form of imprisonment, she angrily and secretly challenges the God of her religion in the way of questions for which she demands and expects answers. Answers pour forth in waves of several disturbing events that impact her and her family until a time of death and destruction that serves to eventually pave a way out. She tells her story not to condemn the offenders, but to encourage victims to be strong, release fear and take personal responsibility.

Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.75 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: Makena McChesney’s heartfelt memoir offers a plot with clear scaffolding from the very first page, and the ensuing tale of submission, disillusionment, and realization, while at times slow, is nonetheless compelling and empowering.

Prose: McChesney’s memoir strikes an honest and conversational tone throughout the book. Though her prose can be verbose, it is also raw, and packed with authentic emotion and thoughtful reflection. 

Originality: Seeking Oz presents the view of a cult and cult leader as they consolidate power—rich and familiar territory for a memoir. However, this book is more than a cult story--it is the unique and relatable tale of a flattened and preyed upon woman claiming her physical and emotional space in the world. 

Character Development: In the sharing of such a personal journey, the most layered and developed character is, of course, the narrator, who unflinchingly recalls her past with honesty and candor. While other characters do not always feel fully fleshed-out, their impact and effect upon McChesney is fraught and dynamic.

Date Submitted: August 28, 2018

Reviews
Following her flight from a cult, McChesney, now 71, recounts the torment of her captivity in this tense but uneven memoir. She writes of growing up in a strict family and attending a “fear-based, shame-based” Pentecostal church in an unnamed rural community in the U.S., where she was reluctant to question authority. As a directionless 31-year-old in 1978 with two young children and an abusive alcoholic husband, she was drawn to a welcoming, fundamentalist group she refers to as the Fellowship. She left her husband and, with her two sons, moved to a Fellowship colony. The cult, under a charismatic leader she calls Bud, controlled every facet of her life: she was expected to teach classes to the members’ children, to clean and take care of rental houses of new members, and to take in and educate new members. It took years until she finally understood that cults are made up of “those who desired to control and those who allowed it,” and she realized that she needed to, and could, control her own life. She left the cult with her teenage children in 1990, choosing no longer “to give away her power to be loved.” The narrative can feel muddled at times, as she hesitates describing the cult members and the cult itself in detail. Ultimately, however, McChesney’s story is as uplifting as it is encouraging. (BookLife)
Amazon.com

1. 

Johanna Carroll reviewed Seeking Oz: My Twelve-Year Journey in a Cult

 A false prophet is finally busted! August 17, 2018

Wow what a journey for the author. It’s amazing that under the guise of religion she tried to endure such manipulative behavior. It’s even more amazing she was brave enough to stand up for herself and finally leave!

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2. 

MEHERNOSH D. reviewed Seeking Oz: My Twelve-Year Journey in a Cult

 Engaging. August 14, 2018

Heartfelt narrative with strong analogies. Will wait for the sequel as hinted in the book.

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3. 

Chuck Boge reviewed Seeking Oz: My Twelve-Year Journey in a Cult

 Amazing August 1, 2018

Is amazing that these people made it out.

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4. 

TurbanDiva reviewed Seeking Oz: My Twelve-Year Journey in a Cult

1 of 1 people found the following helpful

 I couldn’t put it down! July 6, 2018

This is a fascinating, fast paced read. Having gone to Catholic school for 12 years, I could relate to the guilt that can override our intuition and leave one in a state of codependency and submission. The author’s deep faith and goodness left her susceptible to religious manipulation, and we must be ever faithful to our personal connection to God as we understand that spirit.

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 06/2018
  • 978-1-9822-0618-5 (e)
  • 278 pages
  • $3.99
Paperback Details
  • 06/2018
  • 978-1-9822-0619-2 (sc)
  • 278 pages
  • $18.99
Hardcover Details
  • 06/2018
  • 978-1-9822-0617-8 (hc)
  • 278 pages
  • $35.95

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