A Most Interesting Review

One of the most interesting reviews that I received on my book, Growing Up in Mama’s Club, was posted by Amanda Richards, who is included in an elite group of Amazon’s top reviewers. Her post reads as follows:


Men at Work - Super Hits

Who can it be knocking at my door?
Go ‘way, don’t come ’round here no more.
Can’t you see that it’s late at night?
I’m very tired, and I’m not feeling right.
All I wish is to be alone;
Stay away, don’t you invade my home.”

(Lyrics by Men At Work)

“Easily recognizable by their tracts and immaculate appearance, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been going door to door for decades, spreading religious dogma, doing their bit to share their interpretation of the bible, and looking for converts.

“For obvious reasons this isn’t the easiest task in the world, and when you consider that this is all done on a voluntary basis, ( in the sense that you don’t get paid) it becomes even more remarkable that people would be motivated to rise to the challenge.

“To quote British comedian Tommy Cooper:

“The recruitment consultant asked me ‘What do you think of voluntary work?’ I said ‘I wouldn’t do it if you paid me.’ ”

“This book offers insights into ‘The Club’ through the eyes of a young man whose mother fully embraced JW doctrine, and found the spiritual guidance that she was desperately seeking at that time of her life. Naturally, his mother expected her family to join her on the path to eternal life in a New World, and despite early resistance, she succeeded in converting her husband, and together they set the rules for their children.

“Young Dickie was an unwilling participant, quickly concluding that something seemed wrong with some of the rules and beliefs, which would sometimes change drastically depending on the Club president at the time. Mainly to please his mother, he remained with the Club for sixteen years, abiding by the strange rules for the most part, participating in the long and frequent Club meetings at the Kingdom Hall and performing his door-to-door duties. At the same time he found himself leading a double life, as he never fully embraced the teachings of the Club and wished to lead a more normal life.

“Despite having his parents’ religious beliefs forced upon him, he managed to make the best of it, becoming an accomplished public speaker and perfecting his interpersonal skills. He also formed his own opinions on ‘the truth’ as preached by Club members, and observed how some rules seemed not to apply to the upper levels of the hierarchy.

“From this book, the reader will have a better understanding of this controversial religious group, the administrative structure and its influence over its members. Well written, easy to read, humorous in places and shocking in others, anyone considering joining JW or any similar group should read this before making a final decision.”

Tucson Festival of Books

era-2005.jpgEsther Royer Ayers, the author of “Rolling Down Black Stockings”, and I were invited to participate in the 2009 Tucson Festival of Books, which is sponsored by The Arizona Daily Star in association with the University of Arizona. This is quite an honor for both of us as they have invited only 300 writers and are expecting over 50,000 people to attend. An hour has been allotted to us on Sunday, March 15 at 4:00pm. After the session there will be a half hour for us to sign our books.

Esther and I have chosen “Two Remarkable Stories of Growing Up in Cults – Told with Compassion & Humor” as the title of our presentation. The format will be a lively interactive discussion between us talking about growing up in two totally different cults – Old Order Mennonites and Jehovah’s Witnesses – with surprising and shocking commonalities between these two very unique and secretive groups.

Rolling Down Black Stockings

41pgf8abp-l__sl500_aa240_.jpgTwo weeks ago, I read Esther Royer Ayers’ memoir about growing up in a religious cult – Old Order Mennonites. While she was exposed to much different dogma and rules as a child and during our teenage years, I was struck by how much we had in common, having to live under the control of a cult mentality. If you enjoyed reading “Growing Up in Mama’s Club”, I think you will enjoy reading her book. Please note the following review that I posted on Amazon.com:

“How could you not fall in love with Esther Royer Ayers after reading her stirring life story in ‘Rolling Down Black Stockings?’ I know that my wife and I did. Perhaps it’s because Esther and I had strong, dominant mothers who chose non-mainstream religious beliefs and practices over common sense to raise their children. Maybe it’s due to the ghosts that haunted both of our adult lives because of how fear trumped love in our parent’s decision making skills while we were growing up. Then again, it may be that as an author, I especially enjoy writers with a gift for words, engaging their readers with eloquent prose, poignant metaphors, and down-to-earth analogies.”

If you would like to purchase her book you can do so by going to Amazon.com or you can check out her website at http://www.estherroyerayers.com