Levin’s writing is powerful throughout: he doesn’t dwell in shame but rather finds a way to make peace with the past and move forward ... A poetic and intimate memoir of a harrowing ordeal. Any reader interested in the workings of cults or the experiences of people in cults will find this book worthwhile.
Chilling ... Writing in eloquent prose, he describes how such a thing can happen, and why ... It’s tragic, but it’s also a powerful portrayal of a young man’s ability to emerge whole from an experience intended to break him. As dark as it is, there’s real beauty in this story.
Unsettling ... Levin vividly evokes the collegiate atmosphere of the early 2010s, focusing on the bizarre experiences he endured at Sarah Lawrence College ... Levin controls this unsavory tale by contrasting Ray’s bombast and deceptions with his own struggles with depression and identity alongside intense depictions of settings ranging from the bucolic campus to the group’s flashy Manhattan environs. He captures how intense adolescent friendships are vulnerable to manipulation. Sometimes the author’s exactitude becomes tiresome ... An unusual, affecting portrait of how post-adolescent power dynamics are susceptible to cultish abuse.