Fotografía de autor
1 Obra 148 Miembros 11 Reseñas

Sobre El Autor

Jayanti Tamm is an English professor at Ocean County College, where she teaches writing and literature. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.

Obras de Jayanti Tamm


Conocimiento común



Note: A copy of this book was provided to this reviewer for free through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

A solid 3.5 out of 5 stars, although I’m giving “Cartwheels in a Sari” the benefit of the doubt and giving it 4 stars since we can’t give half stars on Goodreads.

As an outsider and understanding some of the background of various cults and their mind-controlling methods, the first thing I felt while reading this book was immense frustration, which may be where many readers could stumble in reading this and could be its biggest weakness. How do the people involved not see how they’re being manipulated? How can Jayanti Tamm (the author of this memoir) not understand the control being exerted by the obvious charlatan Sri Chinmoy?

This is where “Cartwheels in a Sari” also has its greatest strength. The book is bluntly honest as it is mostly told through the perspective of a child who literally knew nothing else, being born and raised in this cult and indoctrinated from birth. I had to remind myself that this was the perspective and knowledge of the writer at the time these events occurred in her life, and that she did not have the benefit of outside influence until much later. This will likely be the biggest area of frustration for most readers, but it’s also the most honest part of it, and the author seems to have taken great pains to regress her own perspective to the one she had as a child witnessing these events with very little hindsight added. At the same time, some more commentary of the events from her adult self using would likely have been appreciated, and the reader will need to wait until the end of the book to get more of this hindsight. I understand the author’s reasoning in wanting to ensure the reader stays enmeshed in her perspective as the events of her life without the benefit of hindsight, but it still adds to the frustration.

An insider perspective on cult life that is wholly unique, this book provides the reader with an interesting view on how cults control their members and how some ultimately break free, including the author. Even in moments of great despair, the author provides hope that even one born into and knowing nothing outside of a cult can create an independent life after breaking free. While not a spectacular book, it is solid enough to recommend and an interesting sociological case study on cults with a convenient reader’s guide with questions provided at the end for those who wish to use the book as a teaching tool.
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sheldonnylander | 10 reseñas más. | Apr 5, 2023 |

A strange tale of a girl born the "Chosen One" in a cult. Strangely, I found it light reading missing the depths of madness and brainwashing that I expected.

I didn't find the "guru", the cult leader named Sri Chinmoy, all that sinister or crazy. He just loved attention. Perhaps, the bar for insanity has raised in modern times (Michael Jackson any one?).

Unless you have some prior (and preferably negative) knowledge of Sri Chinmoy, it just doesn't hit the heart.
wellington299 | 10 reseñas más. | Feb 19, 2022 |
Having left the cult she was born into while in her mid twenties, Jayanti Tamm is remarkable for:

1. Successfully building a life when she was never taught the most basic skills needed to function in society.

2. Staying on a forward course; being open and joyful to what life brings her, instead of stewing in bitterness against her former cult.

3. Writing a great memoir that gives all of us a window into the weirdness of Sri Chinmoy.
kivarson | 10 reseñas más. | Jun 8, 2016 |
When I lived in San Diego, the Sri Chinmoy vegetarian restaurant was a block from my house. My roommates and I ate there all the time - that food was seriously delicious. We had one rule: no conversation about the decor, Sri Chinmoy, or any of the photos displayed in the eating area. The servers seemed to be listening at all times, and any remark at any volume, whether it be curiosity or skepticism, prompted a flood of pamphlets, photographic evidence to back up the Guru's rather improbable feats of strength, leaflets about upcoming events, and invitations to attend any of their numerous free meetings. We tried to focus on the food.

It wasn't easy. TV sets in every corner showed the Guru meeting very famous people, giving speeches, or playing various instruments. The restaurant's stereo played nothing but Sri Chinmoy original compositions. Sri Chinmoy drawings shared wall space with photos of the aging Guru lifting giant weights or large animals or vehicles of various sizes. Adding to the surreal atmosphere were the servers themselves, wearing homemade cotton pjs and matching expressions of dazed weariness. They didn't look like radiantly happy followers of a fitness and health food guru. They looked like they subsisted on valium and sawdust. Sometimes I'd see one or two standing at the back door smoking cigarettes with fixed, grim stares. All this changed on brunch or event days, when the people who ran the place came out, all bright smiles, to charm the diners. But the waitstaff didn't leave us with the impression that joining up with Chinmoy was going to fill us with either enlightenment or bliss. (But the neatloaf!! So good!)

Cartwheels in a Sari explains a lot of what mystified us about the whole Sri Chinmoy thing - the tired disciples, the crazy claims, the crappy music. You would be hard pressed to find a more deeply insider account than Tamm's: as the Guru's 'Chosen One', she had a unique view on the workings of the cult. Yeah. I'm going to say 'cult'. I wished there had been a little more detail about how she managed to unbrainwash herself - the ending is a little abrupt - but, on the other hand, that wasn't the point of the book. And I was glad to have so many questions answered honestly, with no need to fend off any more pamphlets.
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1 vota
paperloverevolution | 10 reseñas más. | Mar 30, 2013 |


½ 3.7

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