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Publisher's 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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What listeners say about Scarred

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Eye opening and emotional

Whether you were a part of this organization or not, you can relate to this true story. Deception, having your loyalty be taken advantage of, figuring out life and how you want to live it. Trust your intuition and never stop loving.

2 people found this helpful

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Shocking. Devastating. Well done!

I couldn't stop listening to the re-telling of Sarah Edmondson's journey through NXIVM. I was personally involved in the company from 2010-2011 so hearing my friend, and once leader, talk about her in-depth experiences was heart wrenching but oddly beautiful. She got out on the other side and is now using her voice to help others. A great book for anyone interested to get a taste of the dark world of cults and the extremely deranged founder who has hurt so many people's lives, Keith Raniere.

2 people found this helpful

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An incredible story, narrated to perfection!

One of the most incredible stories I’ve ever heard, and narrated to perfection. A VERY important book in a time where people are dying to find themselves or be empowered, and perhaps looking in the wrong places to crave that thirst. I was surprised to know just how easy it is for a cult to form and how easy it is to get sucked in, and how many there are. Also how many people I knew that were somewhat connected to such a terrible thing. I’m grateful to my dear friend Sarah for coming to the realization and sharing her painful story with the world. That took a lot of strength. It’s very informative as well for anyone who may be getting suspicious they might be in a cult or someone they know... spreed it like wild fire! An important read.

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Amazing story! wow...

Bravo sarah on being brave enough to come forward and freeing so many other people like yourself from this cult
Not to mention helping bring these criminals to justice rather than quitely living in shame.
You Rock Sarah!!!
Randy
www.IMDb.me/RandyThomas

2 people found this helpful

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EXTREMELY POWERFUL!!

Sarah does great justice in explaining what happens inside Personal Development Cults. She is vulnerable, honest and thoughtful, beautifully sharing the true story of her harrowing experience in this manipulative and abusive group. "Scarred" is a must-read for anyone who wants to gain awareness about the terrible things that can happen in groups that 'seem' great. Knowledge is power and I am thankful for Sarah's courage in penning this book. I hope that many people will read it to gain a deeper understanding so they can protect themselves and their loved ones from cults like this in the future!

1 person found this helpful

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A must-read!

I could not believe my ears right from the first chapter. Hearing of what went on in this cult and what these women had to go through was jaw dropping. I literally listened to this book every waking hour I could until it was done, I had to know what happened next and the narrator helped paint that picture perfectly. I had no clue this cult even existed before this.

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riveting story

I can't even imagine the pain Sarah went through...just incredible! so glad she is out of this cult.

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Scarred is a valuable read!

Written well and really brought to the surface how we are slowly manipulated. No one wittingly joins a cult. Sarah is one brave lady! Highly recommend!

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A must listen if you’re interested in the NXIVM sex cult

I’ve listened to “Escaping NXIVM” podcast and watched HBO’s “The Vow” but still learned new and disturbing things about KR and NXIVM in Sarah’s book. Her very personal and raw accounts of her years inside the cult lay out the timeline perfectly and how intoxicating the allure could be. Her voice is perfect for narration and her coauthor did a fantastic job. Look no further for a great read/listen about this bizarre and unsettling sex cult masquerading as a self help group. I can’t recommend it enough!

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I could see myself there with her

This story was Phenomenal, enthralling, engaging and I couldn't turn it off. The story of NXIVM, sensational and straight out of Hollywood, all over big news & at the front of every news hour for weeks. Who could resist.

However, this story, Sarah's story is not the seedy E True Hollywood Story you would expect from a story ripped from the headline. It is an objectively engaging story, tense yes, messed up TOTALLY, but give me one woman that wouldn't blindly follow their best friend without question, and I will give you a liar. I can see myself in that room, I can relate to that feeling of wanting to be a part of something bigger than yourself, to show how strong you are regardless of what you are doing to prove it. I feel the insecurity they felt sitting there naked, I felt myself cupping my own pooch while listening as if I was there right along side them.

The story was intense, but not in a way where I felt she was ever defeated at any point of the story, yeah, Lauren persuaded her to join on Laurens word alone. The idea of collateral is not unheard as a motivator, though, sure, it normally comes in the form of maybe a swear jar, But this was her sister, her best friend, the God mother to her child, the maid of honour at her wedding, Sarah had already made that vow to Lauren a long time ago, she had entrusted the most precious things she had in her possession to Lauren, her friendship.

5 stars HIGHLY recommend.

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  • Ellen
  • 2019-10-23

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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Sandy B
  • 2019-11-21

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
  • 2020-10-20

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
  • 2019-09-19

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
  • 2019-09-26

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
  • 2019-10-01

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Mark Brown
  • 2020-12-09

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!

1 person found this helpful

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  • LMBessette
  • 2020-10-06

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!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kellee Renson
  • 2020-07-27

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
  • 2020-05-30

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