Among the booksellers of my acquaintance, this was by far the most-anticipated book of the year. Author Mikel Jollett was once a young fiction writer of growing reputation who made an unexpected career turn and became the front-man for indie band Airborne Toxic Event. His literary talent has blossomed into full flower with this memoir, which is not the chronicle of rock-and-roll decadence you might expect. Jollett was born into a California commune that developed into the Synanon cult, where he was raised by an oppressive collective of unrelated strangers. His mother escaped with him while he was still of school age, but in many ways the outside world proved harsher and more emotionally scarring than the cult. His is a story of personal triumph over adversity, but much more it’s the story of the development of a mind and a soul, expressed with increasing grace on every page—Jollett’s craftsmanship is as inspiring as his life. If you’ve been looking for a read that equals Tara Westover’s Educated, look no further.
—James Crossley, Madison Books, Seattle, WA