Vigaland Book Review #5 by Viga Boland, author and book reviewer
Today’s book, CULT, was written by a rather well-known author, Warren Adler. Adler is famous for his book which became a movie, “War of the Roses”. But I first encountered the writing of Warren Adler when I read and reviewed his book, “Mother Nile”.
After reading “Mother Nile”, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on another Warren Adler book. I chose “Cult” because, as a victim of childhood abuse I am forever trying to understand the mind and motivations of those who use manipulative and mind-bending brainwashing to gain power over others. I have always been fascinated by tragic events like Waco, people like Koresh, and the Jonestown disaster. I’m as much interested in why people join such cults in the first place, as I am about how impossible it becomes to get out of them once you’re in there.
Warren Adler’s book didn’t disappoint in explaining both those things. In fact, I gained additional insight into how the susceptible are unknowingly “captured”, assuming Adler’s story is based on some fact and research, and most of his books that deal with such cultural situations are indeed, researched by him before writing.
I don’t believe or put much faith in reviews where “reviewers” like or don’t like a character for reasons of their own. A proper book review should be based on its writing merits, its plot development, its characterization, pace and theme. So it’s irrelevant if I liked or didn’t like Naomi, for instance. She was opinionated and it was difficult for her to break away from her beliefs…just like those inside the cult for different reasons. The goodness or badness of Mr. Adler’s book doesn’t hinge on her character. She is what she is. The same is true of others in the book. With the exception of the Sherrif, and the male protagonist caught in a horrible and fruitless struggle to get his wife out of the cult, most of the characters do not touch us all that deeply.
One reviewer said the ending was predictable. Well perhaps. I wasn’t expecting exactly what happened but I did see it as a most probable conclusion. And unfortunately, that’s a shame…and one of the ugly truths about belonging to any cult…including established and century long organized religions. After all, we are all born into a religion of some kind then brainwashed into thinking as that religion has taught us. And once we are all taught to think the same way, there’s no more reason to think, is there. That, essentially, is what just about everyone inside and outside the Cult, including Naomi, learns in Warren Adler’s book: once we stop thinking, stop questioning what we are brainwashed into believing, we may just as well merely “exist” as do those inside a cult.
Are you an author with a novel or memoir you’d like to have reviewed? Please visit our ABOUT VIANVI REVIEWS PAGE on this site to see what’s involved.
If you enjoy MEMOIR WRITING and READING, check out Viga Boland’s other sites and podcasts at