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Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood

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An unforgettable family tale of deception and betrayal, love and forgiveness Pauline Dakin spent her childhood on the run. Without warning, her mother twice uprooted her and her brother, moving thousands of miles away from family and friends. Disturbing events interrupt their outwardly normal life: break-ins, car thefts, even physical attacks on a family friend. Many years An unforgettable family tale of deception and betrayal, love and forgiveness Pauline Dakin spent her childhood on the run. Without warning, her mother twice uprooted her and her brother, moving thousands of miles away from family and friends. Disturbing events interrupt their outwardly normal life: break-ins, car thefts, even physical attacks on a family friend. Many years later, her mother finally revealed they'd been running from the Mafia and were receiving protection from a covert anti-organized crime task force. But the truth was even more bizarre. Gradually, Dakin's fears give way to suspicion. She puts her journalistic training to work and discovers that the Mafia threat was actually an elaborate web of lies. As she revisits her past, Dakin uncovers the human capacity for betrayal and deception, and the power of love to forgive. Run, Hide, Repeat is a memoir of a childhood steeped in unexplained fear and menace. Gripping and suspenseful, it moves from Dakin's uneasy acceptance of her family's dire situation to bewildered anger. As compelling and twisted as a thriller, Run Hide Repeat is an unforgettable portrait of a family under threat, and the resilience of family bonds.


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An unforgettable family tale of deception and betrayal, love and forgiveness Pauline Dakin spent her childhood on the run. Without warning, her mother twice uprooted her and her brother, moving thousands of miles away from family and friends. Disturbing events interrupt their outwardly normal life: break-ins, car thefts, even physical attacks on a family friend. Many years An unforgettable family tale of deception and betrayal, love and forgiveness Pauline Dakin spent her childhood on the run. Without warning, her mother twice uprooted her and her brother, moving thousands of miles away from family and friends. Disturbing events interrupt their outwardly normal life: break-ins, car thefts, even physical attacks on a family friend. Many years later, her mother finally revealed they'd been running from the Mafia and were receiving protection from a covert anti-organized crime task force. But the truth was even more bizarre. Gradually, Dakin's fears give way to suspicion. She puts her journalistic training to work and discovers that the Mafia threat was actually an elaborate web of lies. As she revisits her past, Dakin uncovers the human capacity for betrayal and deception, and the power of love to forgive. Run, Hide, Repeat is a memoir of a childhood steeped in unexplained fear and menace. Gripping and suspenseful, it moves from Dakin's uneasy acceptance of her family's dire situation to bewildered anger. As compelling and twisted as a thriller, Run Hide Repeat is an unforgettable portrait of a family under threat, and the resilience of family bonds.

30 review for Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jaidee

    2.5 "compassionate, therapeutic but not a great read" stars !! First of all a full five stars for Ms. Dakin's courage to write these memoirs as a way not only to heal a tumultuous and chaotic childhood and young adulthood but also to give tribute, respect and forgiveness to her mother who loved her children dearly but struggled with depression, post-traumatic stress and a severe delusional disorder. Her life was committed to her lover (Stan) who was first her counsellor/pastor and then her true 2.5 "compassionate, therapeutic but not a great read" stars !! First of all a full five stars for Ms. Dakin's courage to write these memoirs as a way not only to heal a tumultuous and chaotic childhood and young adulthood but also to give tribute, respect and forgiveness to her mother who loved her children dearly but struggled with depression, post-traumatic stress and a severe delusional disorder. Her life was committed to her lover (Stan) who was first her counsellor/pastor and then her true love. Stan had a delusional disorder of such complexity that he believed that this family was in mortal danger from the mafia and other gangsters. He was so convincing that not only did the mother believe it until the very end but the adult children (the author included) and their spouses. They moved constantly and were in constant fear. They lived all across Canada and never could they breathe easy. I am extremely happy that the author has been able to break free, become a respected journalist and have an open and giving heart. However, this does not make a great memoir. This book needed so much more work in order to elicit the impact the author wishes to make on the general population. The timelines are disorderly, the writing repetitive, the characters introduced suddenly with very little background information. She also tries to provide education on delusional disorder but with little success. As interesting and important as I found this story I was often irritated with the repetition and paucity of information. This book could have been dynamite but ended up mostly ineffectual.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Canadian Reader

    When Pauline Dakin was 23 years old, her mother and her mother’s United Church of Canada minister friend, Stan Sears, arranged for her to meet with them at an out-of-the-way New Brunswick motel. They wanted to explain why it was that Pauline, her younger brother Ted, and mother Ruth had been on the run since Pauline was around seven. Pauline was told that because Sears had counselled an ex-Mafia operative (who’d been trying to mend his ways) and because Ruth had been married to a man (Pauline’s When Pauline Dakin was 23 years old, her mother and her mother’s United Church of Canada minister friend, Stan Sears, arranged for her to meet with them at an out-of-the-way New Brunswick motel. They wanted to explain why it was that Pauline, her younger brother Ted, and mother Ruth had been on the run since Pauline was around seven. Pauline was told that because Sears had counselled an ex-Mafia operative (who’d been trying to mend his ways) and because Ruth had been married to a man (Pauline’s father) whose success in the financial sector was due to his connections with organized crime, Sears and his wife Sybil, as well as Ruth Dakin and her two kids were (and continued to be) under the surveillance of organized crime. Underworld kingpins apparently believed the Sears and the Dakin families possessed too much information about mafia operations and needed to be taken out. According to Sears, an elaborate shadowy anti-Mafia system (known only to Canada’s Privy Council) was in place to protect members of the two families. Trusting Sears and her mother, Pauline lived in a sort of paranoid state for some years after this meeting. She was frequently updated by Sears and/or her mother as to the activities of “O”—organized crime—and the forces of good that were attempting to keep the Sears and Dakin families safe. Dakin’s story was far better suited to be a newspaper or magazine feature piece than a memoir. At over 300 pages, it is an incredibly tedious read. It doesn’t take too long for the reader to figure out that though Sears apparently functioned well in the “real world”, he appears to have been deluded (in a full-blown psychiatric sense) and that Ruth Dakin was as well. It is also quite possible he was a sociopathic con man par excellence. The author tries too hard to defend her mother, even going so far as to suggest she possessed sound critical faculties. Yes, really. Clearly, Ruth and Stan had more than just a few screws loose. I completed the book only because I was curious about how Dakin would explain this folie a deux—not particularly satisfactorily, it turns out. In more capable hands, the story might have made for an interesting book, but Dakin is such a bland writer and provides so many unnecessary details, it didn’t stand much of a chance. In the end, I felt the all-too-familiar resentment that occurs when I’ve persisted with something that I had doubts about from the start. Books on people’s capacity to delude themselves, and take vulnerable children with them along for the ride, can be valuable cautionary pieces. So much of this book, however, was repetitive, saccharine, and unnecessary. Clearly, my response is not that of the majority, but I’d still advise: don’t waste your time!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    Sometimes, when I read memoirs, I have to wonder what motivated the author to share a slice of their life in book form. With this volume, I have no doubt what the author’s motivation was--this is easiest way to explain the weirdness of her life to the people that she has encountered along her journey. What if the major assumptions of your life, ones that determined major things like where you lived and who you associated with, were based on someone else’s delusion? This is what Pauline Dakin desc Sometimes, when I read memoirs, I have to wonder what motivated the author to share a slice of their life in book form. With this volume, I have no doubt what the author’s motivation was--this is easiest way to explain the weirdness of her life to the people that she has encountered along her journey. What if the major assumptions of your life, ones that determined major things like where you lived and who you associated with, were based on someone else’s delusion? This is what Pauline Dakin describes in this fascinating memoir of life on the run with her mother and the man that they all trusted. Dakin is a journalist, having worked for the CBC as a medical and health reporter. She is now an instructor, teaching future journalists. With this background, it is no surprise that this is a well-written account and it is obvious that she has spent a lot of time reflecting on her experiences and trying to make sense of all that happened during her childhood and young adulthood. I heard her interviewed on CBC radio, which put this book on my radar. I’m a sucker for memoirs, enjoying being a voyeur into someone else’s existence I guess. I’m surprised that the author’s husband and her brother’s wife were drawn into the whole delusion for as long as they were, but their spouses had been involved since childhood & were predisposed to believe Stan Sears and his complicated delusional assumptions about the world. If nothing else, Dakin has given Delusional Disorder a little more exposure, which may be a help to others who are attached to someone with these issues.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shan

    Wow. This book is part thriller/part true crime novel/part mental health memoir. After about the first quarter of the book I was hooked, shocked, and not sure what to believe. As a child, Dakin spent her life moving from city to city across Canada, often picking up in the middle of the night and leaving without a trace, never understanding why she couldn't share any details of her life with anyone else. As an adult, her mother finally shared the reasons why, that they were on the run from organi Wow. This book is part thriller/part true crime novel/part mental health memoir. After about the first quarter of the book I was hooked, shocked, and not sure what to believe. As a child, Dakin spent her life moving from city to city across Canada, often picking up in the middle of the night and leaving without a trace, never understanding why she couldn't share any details of her life with anyone else. As an adult, her mother finally shared the reasons why, that they were on the run from organized crime figures. Her story doesn't end here, rather this where it really begins. As Dakin begins to go back through her childhood memories with these new revelations, more and more questions arise. And soon Dakin is wondering just who can she trust. This memoir reads just like a novel, it's a page turner. At times it was hard to believe that it was a true story. It obviously took great strength for Dakin to not just write but to write so thoughtfully.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Luanne Ollivier

    Run Hide Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood by Pauline Dakin marked for absolutely fascinating reading. Pauline Dakin is a Canadian, award winning journalist (radio, television and print), producer, and is currently a journalism professor. Run Hide Repeat is her first book. It's a memoir - and it's one you won't be able to put down. Truth is truly stranger than fiction. "When all had been revealed, I wished it to be unsaid. As unsatisfying as my previous ignorance had been, it was better tha Run Hide Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood by Pauline Dakin marked for absolutely fascinating reading. Pauline Dakin is a Canadian, award winning journalist (radio, television and print), producer, and is currently a journalism professor. Run Hide Repeat is her first book. It's a memoir - and it's one you won't be able to put down. Truth is truly stranger than fiction. "When all had been revealed, I wished it to be unsaid. As unsatisfying as my previous ignorance had been, it was better than this story, and easier to live with than my struggle to weigh the truth against the possibility that...that what?" The book's opening chapters introduce us to twenty three year old Dakin. Her mother Ruth and Stan, a family friend have decided that Pauline can finally be told the truth. Why they moved from one side of the country to the other, not once but twice, following Stan and his wife. Why they often left at the drop of a hat, leaving without saying goodbye to neighbours and friends. Why they often missed school. Why they were cautioned to never tell anyone the details of their lives. The answer? The Mafia was after Ruth and her children. The running, the precautions, the moves and the secrets were to keep them safe. Dakin moves the telling of her story from past to present. The reader has the knowledge of the adult Dakin, but it only makes the childhood memories all the more perplexing. And somewhat ridiculous. There's no way this could be true - could it? Pictures of Ruth, Stan, Dakin and her brother and father enhance the memoir and give a human face to this unbelievably true story. Halfway through the book (and this was in one sitting), there was still no answer to the 'why?' Curiosity had me picking the book up every spare moment until I finally reached the final pages. The telling of Run Hide Repeat is a complex and deeply personal personal story. Telling your own story to the world is brave. "An unforgettable family tale of deception and betrayal, love and forgiveness" is an apt description from the publisher.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    We talk about our memories, our mother, the madness that was our childhood, and the strength her belief in the...story must have required of her; to keep going, to leave the familiar and known behind twice, and invite the condemnation and judgment of her family and friends for our disappearances. She did what she believed she had to do to protect her family. And we survived because of and in spite of that. I didn't know anything about Run Hide Repeat before picking it up, and I can't stress e We talk about our memories, our mother, the madness that was our childhood, and the strength her belief in the...story must have required of her; to keep going, to leave the familiar and known behind twice, and invite the condemnation and judgment of her family and friends for our disappearances. She did what she believed she had to do to protect her family. And we survived because of and in spite of that. I didn't know anything about Run Hide Repeat before picking it up, and I can't stress enough how important that was for my reading enjoyment. If someone else is thinking about reading this, I can only implore: Don't read any reviews, any summaries, not even the book flap that gives so much away (I put the ellipses in the opening quote to prevent even a whiff of spoiler.) In addition to having an incredibly interesting story to tell, author Pauline Dakin paces her memoir like a thriller; doling information out slowly and thoughtfully so that the reader's experience mirrored her own as she got older and gained more insight into the why of her crazy childhood. I was fascinated, overwhelmed, horrified: what more could I ask? Although I do have some caveats, they will necessarily be behind my spoiler tags; I still, wholeheartedly, recommend this read. (view spoiler)[Dakin's parents divorced when she was five years old and her younger brother was three, and as she remembers him, her father was a violent alcoholic. Her mother did her best to raise two young children alone, and once she discovered comfort and counsel in the pastor at a new church they began to attend, Ruth Dakin started involving her children in trips and activities with the pastor, Stan Sears, and his wife. Pauline remembers a weird childhood – being woken up to go on day trips away from home, being told to always be secretive about the family's movements, being uprooted and quietly moved across the country, twice. Every time she protested, her mother explained that she'd be told everything when she was older. So, when Dakin was twenty-three, her mother – and Stan Sears, who was apparently her mother's lover – explained to her that her father was actually a dangerous Mafia kingpin and that Stan was a member of a shadowy non-governmental protection agency; always a short step ahead of the goons trying to kidnap, kill, or enlist Dakin and her brother in their father's business: It was a small, tight organization in which leaks were not tolerated. The agency comprised a cadre of undercover security people who gathered intelligence, provided protection for people under threat, including my family, and who – when necessary – would fight or even kill as part of a government-sanctioned but secret war on what was seen as the growing domestic threat posed by organized crime. Stan and Ruth told wild tales of hand-to-hand combat, drug-tipped blowdarts, and poisoned powder sprinkled on their family room carpet. Every story answered a question that Dakin had about her strange childhood, distanced her even more emotionally from the father she rarely saw, and made her begin to live in fear for her future: these mobsters were still out there, still waiting to pounce, still being combatted by those from the “Weird World”. As I was reading this, it all felt too unbelievable (this happened in Canada?), but like Dakin, I had no reason not to believe what her mother was telling her. As Stan described the communication device in his wallet (that sent him urgent warnings via Morse code to his butt), the undetectable doubles that the Mob had replaced various members of the Dakin family with, and the idyllic safe compound that he wanted to whisk Ruth and Pauline away to (with complications always preventing the move at the last minute), I started to wonder, “Is this all really supposed to be true?” And that's what's so special about Dakin's pacing: She gives just enough clues that something isn't right so that the reader has doubts just at the point that she, in the narrative, began to have doubts. As Dakin realises that Stan has been lying to and manipulating her mother for decades, the question becomes: Why? Books, television and movies condition us to think of psychosis as expressing itself through acts of violence; through dark, disturbing behaviour; and through wild-eyed madness – not through a quest for nirvana. There had been unnerving manifestations: the organ-harvesting ship, the times Stan described discoveries of warehouses or buildings full of women and children being sold or used as sex slaves, or raids that liberated young drug-addicted Mafia soldiers. And they were incarcerated, yes, but Stan always described them as saved from a life of brutality and evil. Always these horrific scenes were in aid of positioning Stan and his made-up anti-Mafia agency as rescuers, as bringers of love and light. In Stan's case his psychosis was expressed in aspirations to do God's work in an imaginary world, but all the while he was creating chaos in the real one. And this is the part that prevented me from giving a full five stars to a book I was really enjoying. Dakin decided to start researching psychiatric disorders to find one that might fit Stan and his actions, and after many years and consultation with many experts, she came up with “primary persecutory type delusion disorder, with secondary grandiose type”; that her mother had been caught up in the delusion through the folie à deux phenomenon. The final part of Run Hide Repeat is meant to outline the effects of undiagnosed mental health issues, with a plea for more research into Stan's rare condition, but I couldn't help but wonder if Stan actually was suffering from a delusion disorder: what if he was just a sociopath who got his kicks out of pulling Ruth's strings; who says he believed all that he was saying? Per the Goldwater Rule, the psychiatrists who Dakin consulted with are ethically prevented from assigning Stan a diagnosis without having met with him, and as I only know him from the stories that Dakin had written here, she hasn't convinced me that Stan really did believe in the Weird World, and the O, and the inside. On the other hand, Dakin was wonderful at exploring the effects that Stan's behaviour (however provoked) had on her family, and the picture of her wasted and dying mother cautioning Dakin to remain vigilant because she wouldn't be around to watch over her anymore was affecting; there's no doubt that Ruth believed every word she was told and she spent her entire adult life trying to protect her family from the monsters in the shadows. And that's a great story. (hide spoiler)]

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laurie • The Baking Bookworm

    This memoir looks at the life of Pauline Dakin as she, along with her brother, were whisked to different parts of Canada by their mother who feared for their lives. The book initially has a true crime feel to it but turned out to be something quite unusual and my feelings about it were all over the place. Initially I was saddened by the life Dakin left behind to go on the run and the fear she lived with. That quickly lead to my skepticism and finally to my "Say wha!?!?" moment at the revelation a This memoir looks at the life of Pauline Dakin as she, along with her brother, were whisked to different parts of Canada by their mother who feared for their lives. The book initially has a true crime feel to it but turned out to be something quite unusual and my feelings about it were all over the place. Initially I was saddened by the life Dakin left behind to go on the run and the fear she lived with. That quickly lead to my skepticism and finally to my "Say wha!?!?" moment at the revelation as Dakin learns the truth. As I read I kept having to remind myself that this is a Non-Fiction read and that this actually happened to Dakin here in Canada because as a Fiction read it would be too far-fetched to be believable. It's sad when you think of why it happened and yet, for a book that deals with some big issues, I felt that Dakin kept her emotions and her readers at arm's length. This wasn't a riveting read but it is a unique, strange memoir. I applaud the author for bringing the issue of mental health to her readers but felt that much of the 'on the run' story could have been whittled away. This is less of a true crime kind of read and more of a family drama filled with lies, deceit and a revealing look at mental health. Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Viking Books for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Self-indulgent Trash! The book started out as though it would be an exciting read then flatlined really fast. The biggest thing I took from it is that in order for the writer to believe the heap of BS spun to her, she must be mentally ill herself. Obviously the writer desperately wanted to believe she was special as much as the person feeding her the lies. No normal person hears that a secret service is protecting them and paying for a security detail to follow them constantly and is so self-imp Self-indulgent Trash! The book started out as though it would be an exciting read then flatlined really fast. The biggest thing I took from it is that in order for the writer to believe the heap of BS spun to her, she must be mentally ill herself. Obviously the writer desperately wanted to believe she was special as much as the person feeding her the lies. No normal person hears that a secret service is protecting them and paying for a security detail to follow them constantly and is so self-important they assume it's true. Never once did the writer express a rational argument for why her and her family were worthy of a presidential level of security and protection. Being told the mafia is after you and then choosing to live your life on the run accordingly and buy into that, without ever speaking to a police officer or any true government official, all on the word of one ordinary man who clearly had ulterior motives, makes the writer less of a victim and more of an idiot. I think the writer suffers from the same delusion as her family friend who led her down this path. A sane person would ask for proof. No one without their own delusions of grandeur would put themselves in this situation. I feel like the author trying to win the reader's sympathy is ridiculous. Her mom obviously put having an affair with a married man ahead of her children, and instead of calling it like it is, the writer wants us to feel sorry for the family for being duped. If you are having an affair and the man you are having it with suddenly tells you it's ok because his wife is happily living with his "doppelgänger" and you literally go with this nonsense because of how convenient it makes your adulterous life for you, do you deserve sympathy? I think this is a combination of the writer wanting to feel special and basking in thinking she's so important in the world that high power organized crime is personally after her (and that counter forces also value her so much that they pay to have a security detail follow her for her protection 24/7), and also a convenient way for the writer to not call her mother out for her abuse in moving them around to further her affair with a married man. This is an easy scapegoat for her to keep an untainted idea of her mother as a victim of a sick man rather than a fully complicit adulterer who put her kids second to her affair, and had no issue in believing that she wasn't doing anythign wrong because the true wife lived with a doppelgänger. Really!? Does the average person believe their cheating partner that they aren't hurting anyone because they are actually with his double? Is that not indicative of mental illness in and of itself, or else a great way to ease your conscience about being a horrible human being? It's hard to fathom that a grown woman who has a family and career is so naive and stupid that they would fall for this man's scam unless they were desperately hoping it to be true to validate their pathetic need to be special and important. The mob is after me for no apparent reason! The secret service has a security detail on me for my protection! If someone close to you told you that, would you as a mentally competent person believe it? Of course not! Clinging to this fantasy rather than confronting reality and then victimizing yourself and blaming others for being duped by the world's lamest and worst liar makes this woman mentally ill, or an idiot. I also love how well-timed the book is in waiting for the death of every character who could refute any of it. I feel like I could call this author up tomorrow and tell her she's a mermaid with secret powers and she'll be so desperate to believe it and be "special" like she clearly dreams of that she'll jump into the sea, nearly drown, and then write another book about what a victim she is that she fell for the mermaid scam, and of course, it's not that she's a moron, it's that anyone would believe such a scam! Telling her she's a mermaid is so crafty! Of course she'd have to fall for it. Come on! Self-indulgent much?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    In all honesty, I'm surprised to see such great ratings for this book. This is the reason I purchased it. Good thing it was only $2! I love reading true stories, biographies, etc. In my opinion, the author just rambles on and on. So much detail that is pointless to the story; details of how a dresser looks in a hotel room; what type of loaf of bread bought at the corner store; the way a man chews a sliced apple, etc. I'm surprised she didn't share the colour of her nail polish or the details of In all honesty, I'm surprised to see such great ratings for this book. This is the reason I purchased it. Good thing it was only $2! I love reading true stories, biographies, etc. In my opinion, the author just rambles on and on. So much detail that is pointless to the story; details of how a dresser looks in a hotel room; what type of loaf of bread bought at the corner store; the way a man chews a sliced apple, etc. I'm surprised she didn't share the colour of her nail polish or the details of the laces on her shoes. I am also amazed that certain people could fall for such absurd lies. What world are you living in to even come close to believing any of this being told to you is factual? I couldn't even finish the whole book, I was getting quite annoyed. A few chapters in, we learn that her brother is living with their father. Shouldn't that have already been a clue that the story being told was bogus. Wasn't their father the source to the 'mafia' tale and being hunted? Kudos to those who managed to make it through this book. I am quite a patient person but my patience was wearing thin on the naivety of people.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    3.5. But I'm going with 4 here--I "really liked it" because the book did not turn out to be how I'd expected, and I appreciated that. Pauline intelligently and thoroughly recounts memories of her childhood, on the run from the organized crime that her father is mixed up in. I don't want to say much because I will share this at my book club and if anyone picks it, I want them to have a chance to experience their own reactions. My ranged from Wow, to Oh My God, to WTF, to Wait...what?, to Ahh. 3.5. But I'm going with 4 here--I "really liked it" because the book did not turn out to be how I'd expected, and I appreciated that. Pauline intelligently and thoroughly recounts memories of her childhood, on the run from the organized crime that her father is mixed up in. I don't want to say much because I will share this at my book club and if anyone picks it, I want them to have a chance to experience their own reactions. My ranged from Wow, to Oh My God, to WTF, to Wait...what?, to Ahh.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Forsyth

    Pauline Dakin deserves major credit for digging into a fascinating set of lies and deceptions - her own family's. I have quibbles with the way the story is told, but this had me shaking my head in awe and disbelief several times, and brought me back to a really empathic place by the end of it. Pauline Dakin deserves major credit for digging into a fascinating set of lies and deceptions - her own family's. I have quibbles with the way the story is told, but this had me shaking my head in awe and disbelief several times, and brought me back to a really empathic place by the end of it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Carter

    I borrowed this e-book from the local library. At first it started off well and I really liked it, getting into the mystery of why they had ben on the run and had to hide. But then it came to the point of such ridiculousness that I could no longer go along with the story. I knew immediately that she was being misled when at the age of 23 her mother and close friend Stan, Reverend Sears revealed the “truth” and the cause of the behaviour that had so often confused and frustrated her and her broth I borrowed this e-book from the local library. At first it started off well and I really liked it, getting into the mystery of why they had ben on the run and had to hide. But then it came to the point of such ridiculousness that I could no longer go along with the story. I knew immediately that she was being misled when at the age of 23 her mother and close friend Stan, Reverend Sears revealed the “truth” and the cause of the behaviour that had so often confused and frustrated her and her brother growing up. And even though Pauline could hardly believe her ears, she came to believe the wild tale of the Mafia trying to kill them and the lifesaving responses of their undercover agents who were protecting them from the Mafia and mobsters trying to kill them. From poisoning their food to placing poison on the carpet. And as the story couldn’t get even stranger, there was this secret agency who followed them everywhere, watching over them and protecting them from these “bad guys” that kept trying to kill them. Even though at time Pauline thought it sounded unbelievable, she was lured in by trusting her mother and Stan and despite those doubts she didn’t trust in her gut or truly question if all this could be possible. I on the other hand, saw right away that her mother and Stan were suffering from some kind of mental illness, and I was not interested in going further down the rabbit hole. But I can understand and sympathize with how Pauline did. And I cannot hold her innocence or naiveté against her. The story got even more unbelievable when Stan revealed that there were security people following them around keeping track of who was trying to get close to them and that he had a receiver hidden in the lining of his wallet that vibrated, sending Morse code like messages to alert him of approaching danger. As I read, I was remined of the ridiculous conspiracy theories out there today that many people are believing in. I wanted to continue loving this book but I stopped reading less than one third through. I just couldn’t continue further into the madness. Skipping to the back of the book Pauline reveals that her mother and Stan most likely shared in a delusional disorder, a shared psychosis called Folie à deux. On page 593, Pauline writes: as I sought understanding I realized I felt shame for having been caught up in it, for believing. She also says, “I went along with it because I couldn’t understand how someone who was such a good person, so good to me and so reliable in every other way, could be deliberately deceiving me.” And I understand how she would feel that way and how difficult it must’ve been for her to write this book and reveal all she had once believed in. I also understood that she had been seduced, as she writes in the book, by caring and gentleness. And since she trusted her mother and Stan it was hard for her to go against what she was told. I do feel the story might have been told in a less complicated way. I at times felt too bogged down in the details. As I look at other reviews of this book, I see that some loved it and some feel as I do. As a writer and especially a writer of memoir I understand how hard it is to tell your own story and I commend Pauline on telling hers. Unfortunately, it isn’t a story I became interested in enough to continue reading’ And it does take a lot to make me not finish a book! If you are interested in a couple other books on being affected by others distorted thinking and behaviour, I recommend two books by Julia Scheeres, Jesus Land and A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown

  13. 5 out of 5

    The Distracted Bee

    I don’t think Pauline Dakin will ever truly understand how grateful I am that she had the courage to dissect her entire life and that of her family to share their amazing, almost unbelievable story. She is a new hero of mine, and I hope to find the same catharsis that she did with writing!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aimée Lajeunesse-Uçar

    Book was 300 pages longer than it needed to be to tell the story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Booksandchinooks (Laurie)

    I was given a free copy of this book from PenguinRandomHouse Canada for an honest review. This was a roller coaster of a book. It is the true story of Pauline Dakin’s life beginning with her dysfunctional childhood. Pauline describes her life which was chaotic to say the least. Her mother was under the influence of a man with mental illness that convinced her she was under threat of the mafia and therefore had to continually move her young family and to live in fear. It’s amazing to hear of the I was given a free copy of this book from PenguinRandomHouse Canada for an honest review. This was a roller coaster of a book. It is the true story of Pauline Dakin’s life beginning with her dysfunctional childhood. Pauline describes her life which was chaotic to say the least. Her mother was under the influence of a man with mental illness that convinced her she was under threat of the mafia and therefore had to continually move her young family and to live in fear. It’s amazing to hear of the life the family led. This book is quite a roller coaster and kept me intrigued. As a fellow Canadian I enjoyed the descriptive detail of many Canadian locations. Having said that, I feel some of the other descriptions of details and events in the book could have been shortened or left out. Overall a very interesting book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Pauline Dakin, like Axton Betz-Hamilton, Adrienne Brodeur and Tara Westover came from an extremely dysfunctional family, but unlike them she did not tell her story as well. There is a fascinating story here, but you have to wade through a lot of extraneous material to get to it. Not an exaggeration: I think the content of this book should have been edited down by a good third or more. It went in to far too much detail on things that were not related to the story: exhaustive descriptions of minut Pauline Dakin, like Axton Betz-Hamilton, Adrienne Brodeur and Tara Westover came from an extremely dysfunctional family, but unlike them she did not tell her story as well. There is a fascinating story here, but you have to wade through a lot of extraneous material to get to it. Not an exaggeration: I think the content of this book should have been edited down by a good third or more. It went in to far too much detail on things that were not related to the story: exhaustive descriptions of minutia. We don’t need to know what her mother wore to school, that her father was living in one condo before moving into another, descriptions of the campgrounds they stayed at, the cute comment her step brother made as a child, and on and on – just far too much detail. "Run hide repeat" also seems to serve as a kind of love letter to the author’s family, particularly her mother. She really drives home the point of how loving her mother was and seems to want to canonize her in some way via this book. As written, the book seems as if it should be shared among her family members and close friends, but for a general readership, the story is just told too slowly. I originally encountered this story a few months ago via a long article on the web. When the article said (view spoiler)[Dakin’s step father told her that her relatives had been replaced by doubles, I knew mental illness was at play here, and (hide spoiler)] I decided to stop reading the article and see if there was a book. There was and this is it. However, now that I’ve read the book, I would recommend you just read the article: 'The story of a weird world I was warned never to tell'. Please note this is a review of the book and not intended to disparage Ms. Dakin and the difficulties she endured. I'm very glad that she seems to have achieved a measure of peace through telling her story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Maybe 3.5 stars... This too was a slow start and, at times, I felt that there was more detail than I wanted. However, Dakin's simple and direct prose make the story move and while I can't say I was shocked with the ending, it did keep me compelled. Memoir is not generally my thing but this was a good read. Maybe 3.5 stars... This too was a slow start and, at times, I felt that there was more detail than I wanted. However, Dakin's simple and direct prose make the story move and while I can't say I was shocked with the ending, it did keep me compelled. Memoir is not generally my thing but this was a good read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Connor Farrell

    A good story, but not a good overall book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    I was lucky to receive this book via a Goodreads Giveaway. It was amazing! I read it in 2 days and couldn't put it down. I was lucky to receive this book via a Goodreads Giveaway. It was amazing! I read it in 2 days and couldn't put it down.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cathryn Wellner

    It's no wonder this memoir excites such different reactions. On the one hand, it is a bizarrely compelling story about a family whose dysfunction makes fascinating reading and about a mental illness that can take starkly different directions, each of them devastating to those who fall prey. On the other hand, it reads like an apologia for two smart women who could have been expected to sort through lies and come to better conclusions. I fall somewhere in between the polar opposites but still rec It's no wonder this memoir excites such different reactions. On the one hand, it is a bizarrely compelling story about a family whose dysfunction makes fascinating reading and about a mental illness that can take starkly different directions, each of them devastating to those who fall prey. On the other hand, it reads like an apologia for two smart women who could have been expected to sort through lies and come to better conclusions. I fall somewhere in between the polar opposites but still recommend this book as worth reading. Anyone who thinks something like this could not really happen is ignoring the history of cults and their tight hold on believers. Not every charismatic with wild ideas leads a cult. Some of them pick off smaller prey, spin believable, even if bizarre, fantasies, and still manage to lead a seemingly normal life to outsiders. What occurs less commonly is that one of their victims, finally freed from the spell, goes public with the story of psychic entrapment. Pauline Dakin has done that. Neither her mother nor the man who spun the lies that shadowed Pauline and her family for so many years is still alive. So Dakin may have felt more freedom in telling her side of the story than she might otherwise have. The book left me with a lot of questions. The years of fear and flight are condensed, leaving me wondering about many of the unexplained incidents the family used to confirm their misplaced beliefs for so long. Whatever the case, Dakin has written a book I could not stop reading. Although the mental illness her mother's lover endured is rare, it made me think of other incidents of people who have been so skilled at convincing others to enter into their dangerous illusions.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rae

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Whoa, what a crazy tale. 4.5 solid stars. Oooooone minor drawback. Okay so something was lacking in this book. I think the best way I can describe it is that it didn't do the greatest job of tuning the reader into the what I would call the critical parts of the story. This woman's mother lays a lot on her plate one night when she confesses her father has been involved in organized crime. Not only that, but that's the reason for everything leading to being dubbed "that strange family". We're talkin Whoa, what a crazy tale. 4.5 solid stars. Oooooone minor drawback. Okay so something was lacking in this book. I think the best way I can describe it is that it didn't do the greatest job of tuning the reader into the what I would call the critical parts of the story. This woman's mother lays a lot on her plate one night when she confesses her father has been involved in organized crime. Not only that, but that's the reason for everything leading to being dubbed "that strange family". We're talking moving every few months/years, being yanked out of school to go on spur-of-the-moment get-aways, being told not to tell friends and family where they're going and what they're doing. So it all seems to make sense now. Adds up. You'd think you'd question your mother extensively. Maybe even lash out. Nah. Not really. Maybe Dakin is just really good at taking news such as this? Not sure. So once she believes it, lives in it for awhile, allowing it to consume her and every decision made after that, realizes it's all a huge hoax. A lie. Oh, the things shes done and gone through and put people through in the name of this. Again, you'd think she'd show some type of extreme emotion. Happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion. Nope. Not really. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh. I enjoyed the book, thoroughly even. But I found myself waiting for "the ball to drop" and it just never did.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ronna

    0 stars. Could not read past page 80.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Driscoll

    This is a fascinating memoir of a fractured family. Journalist Pauline Dakin's childhood was affected by family troubles, including alcoholism, divorce, and instability. Like the family, the narrative travels from Canada's Pacific coast to the Atlantic and back again, covering several decades. The story is not told in chronological order, but with flashbacks and leaps forward, showing events from the point of view of the author as a child, a young woman, and one with life experience. The writing This is a fascinating memoir of a fractured family. Journalist Pauline Dakin's childhood was affected by family troubles, including alcoholism, divorce, and instability. Like the family, the narrative travels from Canada's Pacific coast to the Atlantic and back again, covering several decades. The story is not told in chronological order, but with flashbacks and leaps forward, showing events from the point of view of the author as a child, a young woman, and one with life experience. The writing is clear and engaging. I heard a radio interview with the author before reading the book, so I was aware of what caused much of the turmoil described here, but that revelation appears only three-quarters of the way through the book. The reader's experience, therefore, is much like the author's was -- always aware that something about her circumstances was wrong. Revealing the fears and anxieties that can affect families with facades of normality, this book is definitely worth reading.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stacie Dore

    I read this book after hearing am interview with Dakin. In the interview Dakin revealed pretty much exactly what happens in this book. The interview made me want to read the book but also completly spoiled any element of surprise this book had to offer. Dakin explains her weird childhood, how they would move often, be told to tell no one what they are doing and often come home to odd behavior. Because of the interview as I read I was just along for the ride as Dakin sorted through what was going I read this book after hearing am interview with Dakin. In the interview Dakin revealed pretty much exactly what happens in this book. The interview made me want to read the book but also completly spoiled any element of surprise this book had to offer. Dakin explains her weird childhood, how they would move often, be told to tell no one what they are doing and often come home to odd behavior. Because of the interview as I read I was just along for the ride as Dakin sorted through what was going on, instead of being really invested in figuring things out. Reading the book already knowing the end made it more of a 3 star read for me but I could imagine it being so much more had I not known. So Dakin's interviewee skills would get 1 star but I'll give the book a 4.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carina

    Sophie lent me this book, having sent me an article written (I believe) by the author about the book. I read the article in disbelief that this could have actually happened, but both the article and the book are written in such a way as to not only say it was real, but explain why so many people 'bought into' the narrative bring created. It's an interesting tale, and one that has to be read to believed. Given it involves real people who suffered due to mental illness I don't feel I can comment on Sophie lent me this book, having sent me an article written (I believe) by the author about the book. I read the article in disbelief that this could have actually happened, but both the article and the book are written in such a way as to not only say it was real, but explain why so many people 'bought into' the narrative bring created. It's an interesting tale, and one that has to be read to believed. Given it involves real people who suffered due to mental illness I don't feel I can comment on what is told here. I'll just say it's a book I'm glad I've read, and I hope the experience of writing was cathartic to the author, and helps others who may be going through something similar.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Darlene Stericker

    An exceptional book and a good explanation of delusional disorder at the end. Originally I heard Pauline Dakin interviewed on the CBC about the book, and very shortly after she began, I thought of the movie "A Beautiful Mind". This story is different in that there is much paranoia in this story--I am so sad that so much of Pauline's youth was lost to the insanity described. An exceptional book and a good explanation of delusional disorder at the end. Originally I heard Pauline Dakin interviewed on the CBC about the book, and very shortly after she began, I thought of the movie "A Beautiful Mind". This story is different in that there is much paranoia in this story--I am so sad that so much of Pauline's youth was lost to the insanity described.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jason Smith

    The author has an interesting life story, and the book tells the story well. Something in the style of the writing makes the author seem like an observer of her own story, that she has disconnected from the events I'd her life in order to recount them. Because of this, she downplays her own emotions and reactions to the events. The author has an interesting life story, and the book tells the story well. Something in the style of the writing makes the author seem like an observer of her own story, that she has disconnected from the events I'd her life in order to recount them. Because of this, she downplays her own emotions and reactions to the events.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bree

    OK what?? If I write to much, it could turn into a spoiler, so I will say Pauline! What a life! I was hopeful for a bit more information about a few of the characters, so that leaves me with a 3.5 rating.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    This was an amazing story, it is hard to believe just how far it went and how much it impacted the writer and her family. I couldn't put it down!! This was an amazing story, it is hard to believe just how far it went and how much it impacted the writer and her family. I couldn't put it down!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Burns

    I liked this story of an unusual and painful childhood and the figuring out what was going on.

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