An Everyday Cult invites the reader to ride the spiritual rapids of the Center for Transformational Learning, a cult whose leader hopes you will drown. Working under the guise of a trusted therapist, the cult’s aloof, captivating, even sexy leader—referred to only as ‘Doug’—gives weekly ‘homework’ assignments that use pathologies, psychological archetypes, and dream interpretation as the foundations for self-annihilation.
The author’s elegant use of language makes An Everyday Cult read like a literary work of fiction and yet her treatment of the subject matter makes the tale race like a horror film. We watch from behind reluctantly parted fingers as the dark reality of the cult unfolds.
The reader travels with Buglion as she falls—simultaneously in love with the cult’s charismatic leader and asleep to her own identity—drifts, sleeps, and then snaps awake to the eighteen-year nightmare she has endured. The narrative reminds us to open our own eyes and stay awake to the dangers of authoritarian leaders claiming to know us better than we know ourselves.
An Everyday Cult by Gerette Buglion. Rootstock Publishing, May 2021.
Reviewer bio: C. Jane Taylor is the author of Spirit Traffic, a woman’s motorcycle journey of family, fear, and fledging. She lives, writes, and rides in Hinesburg, Vermont.
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