Review of Synanon Kid

CA Wittman’s Synanon Kid: A Brief Review

I had never heard of the Synanon cult before the book Synanon Kid came to my attention; but c’mon, we are all intrigued by such stories, right?

Well, this memoir of CA Wittman’s time in Synanon doesn’t disappoint.

CA Wittman
The author, CA Wittman.

Kidnapped in the night by two women, one of whom was her own mother, Celena spent five formative childhood years in the Synanon cult in California. While this is a story of Synanon, it is also a personal one, of isolation, relationships, and love.

I appreciated Wittman’s creative narratives of her memories including her complicated relationship with her mother and times of deep fear and loneliness within the cult. Growing up in Synanon imparted on Wittman unrealistic, unstable, and untrusting views of the world, and understandably so.

I could relate to Celena’s creation of a robust fantasy life to cope with a confusing, and often violent, reality as a young girl. As she grew older, she learned to talk fast and loud in order to avoid being taken advantage of by others. But she also turned to books, which gave her solace in the knowledge that others dealt with similar oppression and longing in their own lives.

Wittman is a talented writer of memoir; you get about as close to Synanon as you can without being there (and we really wouldn’t want to be there, right?). The reader can almost feel her hunger, fear, confusion, anger, and disappointment.

At only 274 pages, this is a quick and engaging read. If you are interested in memoirs, creative nonfiction, stories about cults, or books by women of color, you will probably enjoy Synanon Kid.

To learn more:


Synanon Kid by CA Wittman



Title: Synanon Kid: A Memoir of Growing Up in the Synanon Cult
Author: C.A. Wittman
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Pages: 274
Publication Date: July 20, 2017
My Rating: Recommended





I won this ebook on GoodReads and decided to review it. Thanks, GoodReads!
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16 thoughts on “CA Wittman’s Synanon Kid: A Brief Review

    1. Me too. I’ve been watching more documentaries about cults lately too… fascinating. I think people just really want to feel like they belong, you know? Maybe joining a cult is an extreme but that might be one reason people become so vulnerable to them. Thanks for reading!

      1. Yeah, I was thinking the same – that sense of community… although looking and judging from the outside, it’s really hard to understand why people believe in them or fall for them!

        1. In this case, Celena was forced to enter by her mother but in cases of adults… who knows, really? I guess someone who feels that desperate or has nowhere else they feel they can turn? I have a hard time getting my head around how a person could be so amazing and engaging that I would just drop everything for them and give them all my money, and run off and devote my life to them, etc. much less forcing my child to do it.

  1. It’s so interesting how a person gets caught up in a cult. Great review.

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