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on February 17, 2016
Because I lie in the area and knew some members of the family, as well as the firemen, I was most interested in it. I admired the writer's sympathy for the grandmother and her unbearable struggle with a Church she had devoted herself to for all her adult years. I admire her for her devotion to a grandson who certainly desperately needed that kind of non-judgmental commitment from someone. It is a horror story about evangelical churches and is probably condemned by them, but I do not believe the writer treated them unfairly.
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on January 16, 2014
I had been reading a lot about the rampant sexual abuse in the Catholic Church recently, and wanted to try something different, so I bought this Kindle single about problems emanating from a small, independent Pentacostal Church, led by the cult-like Brother Frank, who rules his congregation with an iron fist. Though there's no sexual abuse in Mark Obbie's account, there is plenty of psycholigical abuse, dogmatism, and authoritarianism. It's the story of how Tim Ginocchetti, a meek teenage boy who frequently struggled just to literally have his voice heard, murdered his mother Pam after a lifetime of controlling parenting. The fact that Tim came out as gay certainly did not endear him anymore to the congregation after the crime. Brother Frank denied that he or his cultish behavior were implicated in Pam's mental problems, though Obbie presents evidence that they clearly were.

I find it quite telling that several reviewers had a knee-jerk reaction to the book, calling it "anti-Christian." In fact, Obbie barely discusses religion outside of the tiny quasi-cult that he covers for this book. It brough to my mind a quote from Christopher Hitchens that "you can get away with anything if you have 'Reverend' [or 'Brother'] in front of your name." At any rate, this is an engrossing, quick read and I recommend it.
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on June 5, 2017
Good book
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on January 19, 2017
not a terribly compelling book but makes you wonder how people could be so gullible. I haven't set foot in a church in over 40 years and have a hard time understanding how such a punitive cult could attract anyone with a brain.
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on May 17, 2013
I found this book well written and interesting particularly about the religious beliefs of this church. I felt immense sorrow for Tim and
his treatment by adults that were unfortunately misguided in their faith.Thank goodness for Tim's Nanna's unconditional love that will hopefully pull him through to freedom in spirit and body.
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on September 20, 2015
I too was a parishioner of the Syracuse, NY Church, or what I now refer to as a cult, for the first 18 years of my life. Throughout the years I witnessed many lives and families destroyed by the expectations of this "Kingdom Ministry" and the repercussions if those expectations were not followed. I also came to the conclusion that if I came out as a gay man I would never be accepted and I'd be forced into counseling with "Brother Frank" to pray away my sins and seek forgiveness before God and my congregation.

By getting a full time job at a local retail store and requesting that my manager schedule me every Sunday from open to close and every Wednesday after school my parents were unable to force me to attend services and I was slowly able to pull myself away. As a result of my decision I am estranged from my Mother, Father, Sister & Brother and their families along with my paternal Grandfather. Thankfully, my maternal Grandmother and late Grandfather, Aunt, Uncle & his family left the Church as well and ironically they all accept, love and respect me as I am. I'm not known as their gay grandson, nephew or cousin, rather I'm Michael, as I always have been.

In a short paragraph within your book you mention a Bride who was chastised and forced to stand in front of Brother Frank and the congregation and apologize because aspects of and behaviors at her wedding did not conform to the rules of the Church, or more accurately, those of Brother Frank. The Bride was my sister, who already had one strike against her because her future husband was not of the faith and Brother Frank disapproved of the marriage from the start. I recall on the day of the wedding Brother Frank instructed me to "get the wedding party seated or he would not perform the wedding service". Out of respect for my sister, I followed his direction so as to not ruin her wedding ceremony. To this day I have never spoken a word of this to anyone.

After reading your book which shed so much light on the otherwise secretive details of Tim's life leading up to the murder of his mother. My heart goes out to him and I wish that I could have been there for him throughout his mourning his dad's death and then the torment, pain and pressure Pam and the Church bestowed on him. Although I suspected that Tim was gay, I truly had no idea he was going through pain at this level.

It is interesting to me the many similarities between Tim and I. My paternal grandparents were the caretakers of the Bethany Retreat property in Cazenovia, NY, beginning in 1973, and after my paternal Grandmother's unexpected death in 1982, my grandfather continued serving as Caretaker until he was no longer physically able to do so at which point John & Pam Ginochetti took over the role. I too, like Tim, suffered from chronic depression and anxiety along with many thoughts and attempts at ending my own life throughout the years. The most interesting, which I learned after Pam's death is that Pam and my mother were best friends and spent a lot of time speaking over the phone and getting together for Prayer Service, a daily ritual with the residents of Bethany Retreat located on the Church's property.

There are so many stories and events that I could share about growing up in this Church but it would require my publishing a book, which I might write at some point in my life, but for now I'll close, leaving everyone who has taken the time to read this, with my love and compassion and hope that in your own personal life you can share this unconditional love and compassion with your family and friends. Please feel free to reach out if you feel to do so.

Michael Marasco
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on May 12, 2014
I found this short book to be a fascinating read -- narrative journalism at its best. Highly recommended for those who enjoy good nonfiction.
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on June 18, 2013
This is a very moving and gripping read, controversial as well. Which side of the fence will you lean toward? Don't fail to read the reviews and comments left here by "family" members and acquaintances. What's that old saying about protesting too much? I'm left wondering how certain family members justify coercing Tim out of an inheritance that his father, John, surely meant for him to have. They can't claim Tim is not entitled to it because, after all, then they would be passing judgment. At any rate, it's a pretty sure bet that it was not meant for John's wife's siblings. One has to wonder, too, just how large of a chunk ol' Brother Frank waltzed away with. Did any of them bother to visit (or harass) Tim since absconding with his money?
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on July 18, 2013
A great piece of work by an author who clearly knows how to report on crime, the courts and small town drama. There is a lot of detail and character development packed into God's Nobodies; I felt I knew the subjects and wanted the book to go on. The story is paced well and pretty fascinating, and the reader is guided through it by someone who has volumes of information and thoughts about the Ginocchetti family and the justice system. You could tell the author had really spent time answering his own questions before taking us with him. The portrayal of Tim and his grandmother in particular were complicated stories to tell. I appreciated the elbow grease. More books, Obbie.
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on March 5, 2013
Having read about this incident in the local press at the time, I was very interested to learn about the back story. I knew there just had to be more to this poor boy's story than what was reported. This was a very well researched and well written account of a very tragic murder and a very dysfunctional family. I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting. It reads like a well plotted mystery story and my heart goes out to the boy and his grandmother.
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