Wednesday, November 14, 2012
In March of 1997 39 members of the Heaven's Gate group committed mass suicide in California believing they were exiting their earthly bodies and would move onto the next level of existence. Jimmy Pirkey had left the group some months earlier but had been trying to locate them to re-join when the group members died. Five weeks later he too would commit suicide hoping to join his "family".
This is the story of Jimmy's life and the path that led him to membership in this religious cult. His life was one of constant upheaval, poverty, and insecurity. His earliest years were spent with a mentally ill mother and a pedophile father. His older sister was the most stable influence in his life but she had problems of her own and was ill-equipped to nurture young Jimmy. The family was constantly moving and lived a consistently unstable life. After Jimmy's father was incarcerated his mother chose to replace him with a series of undesirable men who only contributed further to Jimmy's sad, deprived youth.
This true life account written by Jimmy's sister using the voices of his mother, father, herself and Jimmy, offers a realistic and traumatic look at what life for this family must have been like and how it affected him. It saddened me to think that children are actually raised this way and surprised me that they didn't have more emotional issues than they did as a result of their childhood circumstances. The author did a wonderful job with what must have been an emotionally devastating walk down memory lane for her.
I received this book through Goodreads' first reader giveaway program and I fervently recommend it.