Book Review: Eris Rising

Did you enjoy the show You? That show where someone does so many absolutely insane things in the name of love but somehow makes it seem normal? Stalking, murder, fraud…but he’s cute and really likes her so…? If so, this book is for you.

Eris Rising is Courtney Ramm’s memoir of a toxic relationship. After moving to Hawaii to follow her dreams, she begins dating a man named Marcus who’s all free love, baby. She’s entirely dickmatized. He’s flaky and always canceling dates. He was in prison for 10 years. He has a daughter that he leaves with random exes and is willing to abandon for a year so he can smoke weed on a beach. He admits to being married and is openly dating several women. This was all clear upfront…but she’s in love. So she dates him casually (on his end), gets pregnant, and follows him to Texas so he can beat a gong at a New Age church that may or may not be a cult. Normal.

Though it’s a true story, I felt the need to suspend belief numerous times. There were so many moments when I wanted to scream “How can somebody be so stupid?!” The author repeatedly found herself in severely unhealthy situations that could easily have been avoided thanks to very (very) blatant warning signs. When a man tells you he is not monogamous and has no intention of being so, how is your next thought “we’ll probably get married and he won’t be with anyone else.” When you run a dance company but are willing to have someone with no professional dance training – who you admit is a poor dancer – play the lead in a performance…is he that mesmerizing or, let’s be real, is the dance company not that legit?

I flew through this book but have a few issues: The prologue about the genius sperm bank sort of came full circle but had very little to do with the story. It felt like a gimmick to lead with this in the cover’s synopsis. Mostly – and perhaps it’s the way things are told in 20/20 hindsight manner – it just seems so obvious that 1) Marcus is a loser 2) Everyone involved in this church is a wackadoodle 3) this is a bad relationship. When the facts are so so soooo glaring, it’s almost hard to believe anyone would remain in the situation. For example, Ramm is calling her Mom at 2 AM with relationship problems and her family doesn’t seem worried? Or we later learn their first sexual encounter is rape (which she even seems to comprehend as it’s happening) and she willingly wants to date him after? Or when she realizes in the end that head minister Paul never spoke with the police (it was merely a control tactic) but she still believes he was in the CIA? Girlfriend, there was no CIA. And why does Ramm not seem concerned about Marcus’ daughter Maya? If things are as they’re portrayed, CPS should probably be called. Finally, what is this “church?!” If it is indeed a cult of sorts, as we’re led to believe, why is it not named? Shouldn’t people be more explicitly warned? Things don’t exactly add up. Maybe it’s because she’s done such a good job of moving on and seeing things for what they were…but there’s such clarity that it’s difficult to believe she didn’t understand the situation in the moment.

Ok so it’s clear I had a few issues with this one, but I will say I tore through it. It’s so hard to turn away from stories like this, where it seems inconceivable that the person involved didn’t see the signs. Just look at our current obsession with NXIVM! I think, maybe, Ramm isn’t quite far enough removed from the situation, and that came through in the writing. I do have to say, kudos to her, though, for sharing her story – it was very brave.

2.75 out of 5 stars. I can’t say I wanted to stop reading it (I had to know how much crazier it could get) but found it very difficult to understand how someone could dismiss so many very very obvious red flags.

Pair with: Kombucha

Note: This post was not sponsored but the book was gifted. All opinions are my own.