Book Review ‘The room by the lake’, Emma Dibdin

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“Cults can hide in many places. They are so adept at blending into society and masking their true colours that often their victims do not realise that they were even in a cult until they have escaped it. Nor do they fully comprehend the severity of the brainwashing that they were subjected to, until they are finally free of it.”
‘A Bloodstained History’

Cult is a group exhibiting an excessive devotion to a person or idea. There is always some kind of the motto or the rules. As well as manipulative (often unethical) methods, designed to advance the goals of the cult-leader (or leaders).

The thing is people doesn’t ‘join’ cults because they want to BE in the cult.
People join people, families, self-help groups, churches, college campus dinner socials, because they want to be a part of something larger than themselves. Often they are young, innocent and naive, just like the hero of the book ‘The room by the lake’.

Heroes and plot:
Meet Caitlin – a lonely, broke student.
She is leaving London, her alcoholic-dad…and moving to New York.

Yes, you’ve heard it right! If to run – then to run far far away from Europe. She’s trying to find the job. She’s looking for one night stands. She’s lying to people she is meeting because she is not used to talk openly about her feelings. 

Then she met Jake.
Or Jake met her.
I bet – the second!

The funny thing – they never had sex, but they are grown ups. He never tried to make a ‘MOVE’… I mean that kinda move in the darkness under the blanket (attention: they spent lots of time together in the same bed! what’s wrong with the guy??)
BUT he invites her to meet his ‘family’…living by the lake, far from the city.

Awwww, so romantic, Jake! 

I know you love camping. But what if I’d tell you:
-you have to wake up 4 am and exercise for 2-3 hours,
-eat meals a-la-Only-Cabbage-And-Water,
-clean up the campus and the territory,
-run in those wild jungles for 2-3 hours,
-go to the OLD-GREY-Psychiatrist-SHADE by the lake and give him a 2 hrs bl@wjob (lets call it nicely – therapy session).
-after that there’s a night vision run and maybe …maybe you can finally fall asleep.
But be ready! Always!

A new kind of bonding
A new kind of family
A new kind of camping
A new kind of therapy

If you wanna join – grab the book and learn the motto: ‘We are here for each other, and we are nothing without each other’. 

Mr Psychiatrist aka Don. His high purpose is to have sex with blindly drugged teenagers and call it ‘open-hearted way to the ultimate question ‘what’s wrong with my life?’…
Interesting touch: we are going to find out (at the end of the book) that he wasn’t the leader of the cult.

Such a liar, lil dirty Don…
Who are you then?..

The style and the language: Easy read, but fuzzy and dim in the middle. I’m not so keen to read about hours and hours of running in the woods. 


  • schizofrenia 
  • a couple of bloody murders
  • no sex

Yes, I know, you are very disappointed. ‘What’s about Don???’- you are shouting in anger. My dear, the members of the cult have been raped only AFTER they have been drugged. So there’s no a WORD about sex during the whole book. The girls simply do not remember THAT!

I disliked: the therapy sessions by the lake (or by the fire) were quite boring… no actions. Tyra – too sporty, a little fitness-robot.

I liked: Jake, he’s kinda a hero and not as impotent as we thought (OMG! something happened between Caitlin and Jake in the woods).
Psychological mystery + thriller jam

Rate: 3 on Goodreads, and nope, I dont think I’d buy it again… 

“even admirable human desires for love, for belonging, and for meaning can be manipulated by unscrupulous individuals to benefit themselves”
Noah Berlatsky 

Next post – ‘Chocolate Shrimp’ short story
Do not forget to check ‘Weekly Teaser’ for my plan for next 2 weeks.


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15 Responses

  1. Wow, just reading your review was a roller coaster ride. The book sounds intense and silly at the same time. I am vaguely interested in this book although it sounds like a disappointment. Great review though, you had me laughing quite a bit.

  2. masercot says:

    Thanks for reviewing it, Ray.

  3. Thanks for the honest review.

  4. Thanks, Ray. I just saved my cash.

  5. anne leueen says:

    I always find your book reviews entertaining irrespective of whether or not I intend to read.

  6. Jeez…glad you wrote this

  7. Are you back yet? I am getting so confused. if you aren’t yet back – have a dekko at this upon your return – if you are away l hope you are having a great time 🙂


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