Mating in Captivity: A Memoir

by Helen Zuman

Synopsis: When recent Harvard grad Helen Zuman moved to Zendik Farm in 1999, she was thrilled to discover that the Zendiks used go-betweens to arrange sexual assignations, or “dates,” in cozy shacks just big enough for a double bed and a nightstand. Here, it seemed, she could learn an honest version of the mating dance—and form a union free of “Deathculture” lies. No one spoke the truth: Arol, the Farm’s matriarch, crushed any love that threatened her hold on her followers’ hearts. An intimate look at a transformative cult journey, Mating in Captivity shows how stories can trap us and free us, how miracles rise out of crisis, how coercion feeds on forsaken self-trust.

My thoughts: This is a tantalizing story filled with many turns that are surprising. I’m amazed at what the author went through on her journey of self-discovery in different places. But mostly what she took as enlightenment at Zendik Farms. I can imagine going there at her age and getting caught up in it, but as a recent Harvard grad, I would hope that I would have had more ideas of my own . I enjoyed the read, racing through to see what happens next. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Mating in Captivity

Publisher: She Writes Press – 249 pages

Publication Date: May 8th, 2018

My rating: 4/5 STARS

About the author: Helen Zuman is a tree-hugging dirt worshipper devoted to turning waste into food and the stinky guck of experience into fertile, fragrant prose. She holds a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard and a Half-FA in memoir from Hunter College. Raised in Brooklyn, she lives with her husband in Beacon, NY and Black Mountain, NC. For more on life at and after Zendik, visit

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