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Summary

The shocking and subversive memoir of a 12-year-NXIVM-member-turned-whistleblower, and her inspiring true story of abuse, escape, and redemption.

"Master, would you brand me? It would be an honor."

Scarred follows actress Sarah Edmondson's account of her recruitment into the NXIVM cult, founded by Keith Raniere. It narrates in detail the 12 years she spent within the organization, during which she enrolled over 2,000 members, chronicling her breaking point and her harrowing fight to get out, help others, and heal.

  • Complete with personal photographs, this tell-all follows Sarah from the moment she takes her first NXIVM seminar, to the invitation she accepts from her best friend, Lauren Salzman, into DOS - a "secret sisterhood" within the cult - to her journey toward becoming a key witness in the federal case against its founders.
  • Listeners will learn how cults like NXIVM get started, why people get involved (and stay), and the importance of whistleblowers who bring light to illegal and unethical practices.
  • Sarah Edmondson is a Canadian actress and playwright who has starred in the CBS series Salvation and more than 12 films for the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. She is featured in the CBC podcast Uncover: Escaping NXIVM and The Vow, the upcoming HBO documentary series on NXIVM.

Scarred isn't just about NXIVM. It is also a story about abuses of power, the role female friendships play in cults, and how sometimes the search to be "better" can override everything else.

  • A thrilling listen for fans of true crime and cults, as well as listeners of podcasts like My Favorite Murder and Up and Vanished.
  • Great for fans of Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini, Escape by Carolyn Jessop, Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill, and Bad Blood by John Carreyrou.
  • Evokes questions about friendship, ethics, good, and evil, making it a perfect selection for book clubs.

Audio edition read by the author.

©2019 Sarah Edmondson and Kristine Gasbarre (P)2019 Hachette Audio

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating; compelling; what an emotional rollercoaster!

This is a fascinating and gripping tale of an idealistic young woman who was lured into the omnipotent grasp of a contemporary cult. Reciting her own tale, Sarah takes the reader through her extraordinary journey with NXIVM - the ambition, the euphoria of self-discovery and the strangling embrace of the community, which eventually led down such a dark path that she felt compelled to blow the whistle.

I devoured this book in just a couple of days. Warning - you will not want to put it down until you’re done!

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic read and beautifully read

Well done Sarah, really inspiring read (listen) good luck to you and your loved ones.

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Great book

Great book, watch and listen to Sarah Edmondson a few times. loved it even more as it is narrated by Sarah herself.

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Brave brave lady

I have listened to this book 4 times now and I still can’t quite get my head round it. Sarah is a well educated beautiful lady, but she was still drawn into such a dangerous cult whose leader was/is a very evil and manipulating man. Sarah and the other members who managed to escape him and have him arrested for the truly grotesque things he has done is just awe inspiring. The fact that this happened now is scary. So many people taken in and used and abused by this man is only really read about in history or fiction. I wish Sarah-and her family all the love and luck to continue to stay strong. Thank you, you may have saved many from abuse psychologically and physically and alienation from the people who love them as they are and for who they are 🥰🥰

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Great book.. wonderful narration, great companion to the vow

The authors courage on her journey and willingness to share it for others makes her a hero to me and a beautiful soul. She’s also a great writer and narrator..
if you want to learn about NXvim of cults get this book

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proud of Sarah

well written and read love the fact she read it herself. it's a scary thing that this was real, glad he got 120 years inside, hope he is someone's slave inside. Hope the others can get de programmed and live an average life.

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A look inside NXIVM

Fantastic story of how someone first got into NXIVM, climbed the ranks, and finally got out (scathed but unbroken).

Peppered with NXIVM theory and explaining their practices — which are a mix of Landmark, Ayn Rand and Scientology. (Having intimate knowledge of the first two, I find it eerie how easy it could be to fall into a cult like this. It’s surreal to hear Landmark and Objectivist jargon casually used in an ‘uncanny valley’ kind of way.)

The author’s acting skills make the narration engaging and enjoyable to listen to.

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Seriously?

This book says more about the authors depraved disposition than it does about the leaders manipulation. l'm finding it very hard to understand her reasoning behind things she chose to do.

I have absolutely no pity for her, no one held a gun to her head,
SHE and SHE alone chose to do these deviant acts and has no one but herself to blame.

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Very involving

Very involving, exactly what I wanted. xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

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  • Ellen
  • 23-10-19

Riveting!

Beautifully paced and gripping story, inspirational. Narration wonderful! Highly recommend. It can get you thinking how easily and in different situations people in our lives can be influenced in the way the author was and that they can get their lives back.

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  • Sandy B
  • 21-11-19

Not for me

I really had a hard time listening to the entire book. I just don't buy that any woman with any intelligence would but into this as long and hard as the author did. I cannot even count the number of times I cringed and shook my head.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Jen
  • 20-10-20

Successful, Brilliant People DO FALL PREY

It is because of Sarah's book that I am now finally extracting myself from a lifetime of indoctrination. (Different organization, same manipulative, diabolical tactics.) For that reason alone, I'm forever grateful that this book was written. You lit a fire under me Sarah Edmondson, and now I'm mad!

It is beyond brave to get yourself out of a cult. But to then tirelessly help get everybody out that you unwittingly brought in, and to take that mother fu**** on? That is courage. That is grace. That is something nobody, least of all Keith "Will there be volleyball?" Reniere, can ever take away from her.

If you think this cannot happen to you, you're wrong. Cults start small. They start with volleyball. They start with "leadership improvement" classes. Who doesn't want to do some self improvement, right? Cults do not go for the weak. They go for the strong, sophisticated, and most brilliant among us. They go after the brightest shining stars and then get them to do all of the work of recruiting. This story chronicles that subtle process magnificently.

I truly hope Sarah is far from finished with bringing us stories. I would expect nothing but great things to come from her. WHAT A READ, WHAT A LISTEN! xo

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-09-19

Awesome story and narration

I just finished listening to this book. It took me two days. The story is really helpful and inspiring. Its also very entertaining to listen.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Brooke
  • 26-09-19

Amazing

Great listen! Very informative of everything she went through with Nxvium and helping to bring it down

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michelle
  • 01-10-19

Meh

I was really expecting this book to be better. To be quite honest, I was pretty bored through out it but was able to listen to it all the way through. I think it would have been better off with a different narrator.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mark Brown
  • 09-12-20

Powerful! Gritty! Enlightening!

SCARRED is an intimate, insiders look into the NXIVM experience, told from a first-person perspective in chronological sequence. Sarah Edmondson takes us on her exciting journey into, and harrowing exit out of NXIVM in a revelatory, disturbing, and ultimately inspirational narrative.
I LOVE the conversational, sometimes gritty honesty in Sarah's writing style. This really came through in her narration.
I listened a second time and again had a particularly emotional response to the final chapter HEALING.
Love this line from Chapter 15 - FREEDOM: "The ones who truly love you will always love you."
I'm moved by how highly Sarah values family and mommyhood.
Sarah said, "I wanted to help others, to evolve the world, and live and work among an empowered community of women." Although the route she took was horrendous, I believe she's fulfilling that by speaking up, speaking out, and sharing her story.
That's what I admire and find so inspirational.

FIVE STARS FOR ME!

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  • LMBessette
  • 06-10-20

Outstanding! - follow up to The Vow

This is a book who’s Audible improves the experience. Sarah reads this herself (and...she’s an excellent voiceover actress, so...). You have her intonations and emphasis, and thus the most accurate representation of her personal story. This is so much more than the HBO documentary could share about her perspective. It is a fuller representation of how steep and slippery the slope was - all while seeming a self improvement goldmine for the taking. I highly recommend this Audible book. I couldn’t put it down, even though I knew the ending!

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  • Kellee Renson
  • 27-07-20

So much scary information

So many people especially women go into something they believe and then to hear this. Brainwashing, lies, deceit. The things I’ve heard about Scientology and Charles Manson. Who is out there now stealing our lives.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Victoria Eriksson
  • 30-05-20

5 stars

Wonderful
I read this in the span of a single 24 hr period, couldn't put it down. For anyone who has been part of any sort of destructive cult, or thinks they are part of such a group, you should absolutely read this. It helps clarify exactly what qualifies, how to see red flags clearly.
I have already been healing for about 10 years from a destructive psychotherapy cult, but that made it a more meaningful experience because Sarah helped to usher in an era that involves more justice and understanding than existed in American society and law for people like us than existed when I was leaving my own destructive cult. And for the Keith Renieres of the world, the narcissistic sociopathic leaders of said groups, too.
Thank you

1 person found this helpful