I’ll preface this review by saying that I do not know personally any of the Pagans mentioned in this book. There has been some talk in the Pagan community of how this book portrays certain big wig Pagans poorly, that the author was taking advantage of these individuals. I can’t speak to that.
Witches of America by Alex Mar is written by a skeptic. A skeptic that is searching for a feeling, a place that evokes the mystery and depth she believes might exist somewhere in this world. Readers hear all the doubts and questions the author has about the Pagan world, mystical experiences, and what belonging to a group of Other entails. The author is unclear about what really drives her pursuit of finding a home in the mystical world. Yet, with all the doubt, the author appears to be honest and up front with authors about this uncertainty.
Readers are gifted with a small view of Faerie, OTO, and more. The author establishes relationships with many different Pagans and groups in her attempt to find the experience she is hoping for. All the practices mentioned are not ones that I have lots of personal experience with. However, I believe that most descriptions of rites and beliefs are respectful even through the doubts voiced. I have no doubt that some items are a bit dramatized, especially the personal relationship details that are revealed. But the drama sells.
I think that this book is meant for those who are curious about Paganism and the mystery of mystical experiences. It isn’t meant to be a how-to or history. Drama and doubt are the driving themes of the book. It is entertainment and not education. Still, it’s worth a read.