Behind the tall, foreboding gates of a commune in Brazil, Daniella Mestyanek Young was raised in the religious cult The Children of God, also known as The Family, as the daughter of high-ranking members. At fifteen years old, fed up with The Family and determined to build a better and freer life for herself, Daniella escapes to Texas.
As hard as it is to absorb the grotesque details of her childhood, so unflinchingly disclosed, reading about Mestyanek Young’s life after leaving the cult behind is no easier on the heart ... Mestyanek Young ponders not the differences between these two groups—God’s Army and the U.S. Army—but their similarities. Uncultured vividly cautions readers to choose a group in which you can be yourself—and be free.
... page-turning ... Mestyanek Young searingly captures the fear and intensity that were her constant companions in the Children of God, and she draws smart parallels between the dogmatic 'indoctrination' she encountered in both the cult and the Army, observing that 'wherever there is programming, the code can be written wrong.' Readers won’t be able to put down this harrowing and enthralling memoir.
The author recounts her story in a series of episodes that become repetitive in the reading even as it’s clear that she was treated unjustly, at least by civilian standards. In the end, her message is compelling ... Affecting, if a touch long, and a deft portrait of the dangers of blindly following leaders of whatever stripe.