Book Review: ‘The Enlightened Ones’


by Lacey Reah

I read a couple of short stories by the author which I really liked, so I decided to try one of her longer works. This book takes you into the heart of a cult through the eyes of a young and impressionable girl who comes from a broken home in LA. The girl, Maggi, is such a sweet and special character I found myself deeply involved with her circumstance, and basically lost on a sea in this disturbing psychological storm which overtakes her and her friends. It was difficult to put this book down, because I was worried for her and hopeful that things would work out okay. Many of her friends (and some of her enemies) have intriguing storylines of their own! Being in a cult causes people to question their reality, and the author captures the process of brainwashing and shows us how easy it is, even for intelligent and compassionate individuals, to fall under the spell of a well-intentioned community or family with a charismatic leader. The only criticism I have for this work, is that the events that unfold kinda resemble a true to life situation that happened in America 30-40 years ago, and I found myself distracted by the comparison. Otherwise, this was a wonderful story which had me in tears a couple of times and sad to reach the end, amazed and wanting more.