I was a child bride. It’s time to stop teaching young girls to stay sweet.

I was a child bride. It’s time to stop teaching young girls to stay sweet. Like the young girls in Netflix’s #2 trending true-crime docuseries, Keep Sweet: Pray and Obeyabout Warren Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), I also grew up in a religious fundamentalist community and was brought up to […]

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Born to Stand Out: Daniella Mestyanek Young Interviewed by Tamara MC

As soon as I heard about Daniella Mestyanek Young’s book Uncultured (St. Martin’s Press), I knew I had to interview her. Both of us are “cult babies,” children born or raised in cults. Young was born a third-generation member of the Children of God, the infamous sex cult alleged to have encouraged sex with children as a way to get closer to God. I grew up in a Sufi cult in the eighties in Texas, and although our cult was not a sex cult, our girls were sexually assaulted. I was married at age twelve in an Islamic temporary marriage called a mut’ah, and most of the girls I grew up with were married off at age fourteen to men much older than them and usually in plural marriages. So, although we grew up in different places with different religions, our experiences mirror each other in many significant ways.

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TCR Talks with Michelle Dowd, Author of Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult

By Tamara MC For fans of Educated by Tara Westover, Maid by Stephanie Land, and Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Michelle Dowd’s debut coming-of-age memoir Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult contains echoes of all three, yet it is wholly unique unto itself. Dowd was born in the 1970s into a survivalist cult called the Field, governed by her grandfather, who […]

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Daniella Mestyanek Young, Uncultured, St. Martin’s Press, 2022

Uncultured, Daniella Mestyanek Young’s powerful debut memoir, is perhaps the next runaway sensation, the succession to Educated (2018) by Tara Westover. Both memoirs are stories of triumph, resiliency, and audacity. Both girls blaze from the confines of their fundamentalist Christian upbringings to shelter identities separate from their groups. They escape their families and communities in quests to […]

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Design Your Life Around Writing: An Interview with Guinevere Turner

Guinevere Turner Tamara MC interviews Guinevere Turner Turner is a screenwriter (American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page), film director, actress, and now author of a debut memoir, When the World Didn’t End. Turner spent the first eleven years of her life (1968-1979) in n urban hippie commune with approximately a hundred adults and sixty children. Like other […]

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Letter: Child Marriage is Never Cutesy

I am a survivor of an Islamic Temporary Marriage, called a mut’ah. I can attest that framing child marriages as cutesy and heartwarming rather than complex misogynistic practices is unacceptable. Child marriage is never okay—permanent or temporary. Despite their name, temporary marriages are anything but temporary; they change a child’s life forever. The NYT article also […]

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