Cut Me Loose — Review

June 18, 2014

Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood is Leah Vincent’s raw memoir of growing up in and cutting ties with the ultra-Orthodox Yeshivish community.

I have very mixed feelings about this book. Vincent cases the community in a fairly negative light and yet she doesn’t paint a particularly clear picture of what it was like to grow up in that environment. She focuses so much on her acts of rebellion and sexual discovery that other parts of the story kind of get lost.

She expresses bewilderment at her family’s withdrawal of support, yet continues to make choices that go against everything they believe and everything that they tried to teach her. I’m certainly not making excuses for her family and the way they treated her, but given the way her behavior deviated from their values, it isn’t surprising.

Honestly, a lot of this book felt like an exhibitionist exercise — Vincent saying “look at all the shocking things I did” — while other parts were her showing just how victimized she was by the community and her family and that’s  why she did many of the things that she did. It was bizarre.

I do think that she has a very interesting story. It was worth telling and it is worth reading, but as with most memoirs, there are some blind spots and some things that should be taken with a grain of salt.

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