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I don’t know how else to say it The book will break your heart. It will make you cry. It will make you mad. And somehow, little Sila still brought a smile to my face, even an out loud laugh, or two!
The book is written beautifully, despite the sadness. I love how the story was told through the child’s eyes. It makes it easier to connect with the her in this way. To feel, see what she is feeling and seeing. More personal. I loved it. Anxious to know what happens after Alaska…
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I had the privilege of meeting this author at a cult conference. She is an amazing woman, and her book, Holy Hell, is riveting. Many thanks to Gail for her review of Cult Child:
I found this book engaging and eloquently written. Even though it is written in the form of a novel, I consider it memoir material. The story is told through the eyes of an innocent child who endured years of abuse, and relied on her creative spirit, passion and connection with her inner world to survive. You will fall in love with this little girl’s feisty and vivacious spirit.
Fortunately, the author is using her hard earned life experience to draw attention to the devastating affects on children being raised in cults. They never had any say in the matter.
Vennie, I say bravo for your heartfelt and brave work.
Author of Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion, and Pure Madness
“Brother Coblin announces at service one night that we’re all going to get to watch a movie called The Hiding Place. It’s about a woman named Corrie Ten Boom, a Jew who was in the concentration camps during World War II. I’m excited to get to watch a real life movie. I think about Anna telling Mama the stories about the same war.
But The Hiding Place just rips my heart out. I fight tears during almost the whole movie. Jess Carter laughs at me for crying, and I lie saying I sneezed and it made my eyes water. Corrie Ten Boom huddles on a bunk with her sister eating bread she’d stolen so they wouldn’t starve. Her head is shaved and she watches as people are marched to the gas chambers to die.
I will have night terrors when I get older; dreams filled with women in white gowns walking single file on a path carved inside a wall of snow. They will march towards the potato dugout gas chamber, and they be holding bloody babies in their arms.
Brother Coblin says when the Communists come they’ll do the same to us that Hitler did to the Jews. We’ll be persecuted for believing in Jesus, just like the Jews were tortured for what they believed in.
The Hiding Place just leaves me with more bad dreams where I see myself standing in lines waiting to go into the chambers and die. I have a shaved head and black dust on my face. There are only children in the line with me. We have sad, hopeless faces with dark, hollow eyes crying tears that leave trails down our cheeks. Brother Ray stands smiling in the doorway of the gas chamber. He is holding a tin of cookies out to me. I start awake then shove my head under the covers, afraid of the demons that might be lurking in the dark corners of my room.”
“Cult Child” is available on Amazon.com (paperback / Kindle (unlimited/lending) http://www.amazon.com/Cult-Child-Vennie-Kocsis/dp/0692235647/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421028994&sr=8-1&keywords=cult+child
“Told in a restrained but highly effective style, reminiscent of Kazuo Ishiguro’s brilliantly understated bestseller “Never Let Me Go”, “Cult Child” provides frightening insights into the methods and after-effects of religious coercion. Her fortress is no bigger than the space between her ears; but through quiet internal resistance, Sila halts her opponents and outlasts their ten year siege.”
M. Dolon Hickmon is a freelance columnist for The Freethinker and OnFaith. He explores the intersections of religion and child abuse in essays published around the web, as well as in the pages of his critically acclaimed novel, 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession. You can follow his writing on Twitter @TVOS1324.