Cartwheels in a Sari: A Memoir of Growing Up Cult by Jayanti Tamm

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Cartwheels in a Sari: A Memoir of Growing Up Cult by Jayanti Tamm

Tamm, Jayanti. Cartwheels in a Sari: A Memoir of Growing Up Cult. Crown, 2009. ISBN 978-0307393920 304 pp. $

This memoir of growing up in a cult in has a lucid daydream like tone to it. When Jayanti’s parents both join the same religious organization in the 1970s, the don’t bat an eye when their leader, Guru Sri Chinmo bids them to marry even though they have just met. Sex is technically not allowed, but the couple produce children, and their daughter Jayanti, is welcomed into the clan as the Chosen One: a special disciple. As such, she holds some position of power, and is allowed very close to Guru. She witnesses a close and spiritual (if slightly misguided) community, but also sees also competitiveness, manipulation, and control.

I liked the way this was told, with little analysis, and more observation in the beginning, and slowly becoming more critical as Jayanti’s eyes are opened to the ludicrosity (is that a word?) of practices like choosing a college and character based on someone else’s mediations, and being sent abroad for wanting to date.

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