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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Heartbreak and Rage by K. Gordon Neufeld is the non-fiction memoir of the author's journey into, through, and eventually out of the control of the infamous cult leader Sun Myung Moon and his Unification movement. The book starts with a little insight into Neufeld's life prior to membership with the Unification Church, transitioning into a trip to the States that brought him into its fringes. Through gentle manipulation and some guilt, Neufeld agrees to go to a communal farm for a few days that turn into weeks until he is settled with others in the San Francisco Bay Area. From here, his isolation from his family and indoctrination as a “Moonie” grows roots. When Neufeld is transferred to a Los Angeles house is the moment he understands he's never going home to Canada. “I finally understood that I had become a full-fledged Unification Church member who was prepared to do anything and go anywhere to fulfill the aims of Sun Myung Moon.”
Heartbreak and Rage is a fascinating story narrated in a way that strikes a steady balance between the emotional turmoil of what clarity is offered in hindsight and the genuine feelings of love and connection on the actual highway that formulates K. Gordon Neufeld's experience. The writing is wonderful and instantly engaging. It's easy to see how someone as intelligent and open-minded as Neufeld can find themselves entangled when any dissent is massaged out with lectures under the guise of his original retreat. I was most fascinated by his time on the East coast where he comes face to face with Sun Myung Moon as well as his share of trouble, only eclipsed by being paired with a woman as a life partner that he only met two days before. Also intriguing is the book's parts that are broken down into categories of justification wherein Neufeld dissects how multi-faceted the reasoning is behind membership. The whole book is really just incredible and I'm so grateful to have read it.