Title: Peddling Doomsday
Author: Petra Jacob
Date Added: June 6, 2018
Date Started: June 18, 2018
Date Finished: July 3, 2018
Reading Duration: 32 Days
Genre: Fiction, Drama, Psychological Thriller
No matter where she is, Deirdre feels out of place. So when a cult known as the Center contacts her, wanting her join up, she’s intrigued. They say a terrible war is coming, humanity is in danger and without explaining why, say she’s needed for the fight. Suddenly the chance to be spectacular is within her grasp. With the charismatic Myra as the cult leader, and talk of prophecies and psychic abilities, Deirdre is soon seduced and ditches her humdrum life to join up.
Once inside, her understanding of the world shifts. She learns the truth about the elite, a secret organisation that has meddled with humanity since the beginning of time. The elite use entertainment and the media as a constant distraction to stop people from reaching their true potential. To free themselves of this conditioning, the followers must give up ‘excessive’ food and sleep. They also carry out increasingly bizarre rituals under the critical eye of the Captain, a minor leader of the new followers. He seems to take pleasure from turning them against one another.
Tensions increase. The followers gain odd new abilities, but bullying and hysteria also grow. Meanwhile Myra’s prophecies become increasingly extreme. As paranoia intensifies, Deirdre questions where the belief ends, and delusion begins.
‘I suppose life is just whatever stories we choose to tell ourselves at the time,’
If you ever want to dive into the machinations of how a cult can draw in and take over “normal” people, this second book from one of my favorite indie authors is the one you want to read. From the outside, it’s painfully obvious what’s going on, but if you really want to be believe something or believe in something because you have nothing else to cling to, you will. That’s how cults and certain religious sects prey on the most vulnerable.
Reading Peddling Doomsday was not always easy, because it’s terrifyingly accurate. How people can be manipulated and lied to to such a degree that even when the truth is blatantly obvious, they still cling to the lie, which is the anthem of cognitive dissonance turned up to 11. Everyone wants to be special. Everyone wants to feel like they can make a difference, and war has been so glamorized that the “war” for humanity’s soul/existence is wildly popular. Consider “end time” aka Revelation rhetoric. It’s not only glorified, it’s also way to relinquish any responsibility to the future and future generations, if the worlds just going to end soon. Cults and cult leaders prey on unhappiness, and our current society is an unhappiness factory, a feast laid out for the taking.
The main character Deirdre’s dissatisfaction with life makes her a prime target. Her boss is a leather pants wearing, gaslighting asshole, and the closest thing she has to a best friend is a passive aggressive bitch named Arabella who insults her to her face and doesn’t even know Deirdre’s father died three weeks ago. It’s no wonder she feels lonely, bored, and ignored on top of her grief. When she’s contacted by a mysterious figuring insisting she’s in the wrong place and offering both solution and salvation, it’s only natural she’d be tempted.
This book was a brilliant look on how cults lure in their victims and retain them. Jacob perfectly paints how easy it is to be sucked in and how difficult it is to leave. Even after physical escape, the mental and emotional scars remain. It is a disturbing journey, but well worth the effort to read. We’d all like to think we’d never fall prey to the obvious lies and machinations of of a cult, but when despair is the disease, they may the only ones peddling the cure.