Friday, April 25, 2008

Book review: Seductive Poison

I recently read the book Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the People's Temple by Deborah Layton. It's an insider's view of the rise and fall of the Peoples Temple. Ms. Layton was one of Jim's most trusted aides and as such knows more about what went on in the temple than the average member. She describes how she got sucked into the cult, her activities after being sucked in, what life was like in Jonestown, and how she came to see the truth and escape. At the end of the book she gives updates on many of the people who were significant to her, whether they survived or died, and, if they survived, how.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars only because I read the book Escape (my review) right before this book and it was a more riveting read.

The book is autobiographical in nature. Ms. Layton talks about all the things she was involved with in the Peoples Temple - the illegal bank accounts, her first time being raped by Jim Jones, how and when Jonestown went from a paradise to hell on earth (when Jones came, it completely changed), and the continuous brainwashing from when she first came to the temple to when she finally escaped. The escape itself completely absorbed me and it was hard to put the book down. Ms. Layton also gives insights into Jim Jones, his charisma, and his character.

I was only 7 1/2 years old when Jonestown occurred and the book helped fill in so many details that I had never known. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to know more about Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple.

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