to the moon and back:
a childhood under the influence

Find Hope and Embrace Your Joy

The best seats Lisa Kohn ever had at Madison Square Garden were at her mother’s mass wedding, and the best cocaine she ever had was from her father’s friend, the judge.

Born to hippie parents and raised in New York City’s East Village in the 1970s, Lisa’s early years were a mixture of encounter groups, primal screams, macrobiotic diets, communes, Indian ashrams, Jefferson Airplane concerts in Central Park, and watching naked actors on off-Broadway stages during the musical HAIR. By the time her older brother was ten, Lisa’s father had him smoking pot. By the time Lisa was ten, Lisa’s mother had them pledging their lives to the Unification Church (the “Moonies”) and self-appointed Messiah, Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

As a child, Lisa knew the ecstatic comfort of inclusion in a cult and as a teenager the torment of rebelling against it. As an adult, Lisa struggled to break free from the hold of abuse and the scars in her heart, mind, and psyche–battling her own addictions and inner demons and searching her soul for a sense of self-worth. Told in spirited candor, to the moon and back reveals how one can leave behind absurdity and horror and create a life of intention and joy. This is the fascinating tale of a story rarely told in its full complexity.

Get a Signed Copy Personalized Just For You

If you’d like a signed copy, Lisa has made arrangements with her local bookstore–Main Point Books–to sign any book that is processed through the store (in person or online), so take advantage of this chance to personalize your copy today.

new awards

Silver Medal Award

2019 Shortlist

2018 INDIES Book of the Year

13th Annual Finalist

Honorable Mention

2019 Finalist

Other Places to Buy the Book






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Reader’s Guide

Use this companion piece with your book group for a deeper dive into Lisa’s world.

Discuss with Lisa

Lisa will do her VERY BEST to attend (virtually or in person, as location and time permit) any book club or discussion group that reads the book and invites her! If you’d like to discuss a date, please contact Lisa.

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Praise for to the moon and back

You really need to read this book, because it’s awesome.

Jenny Lawson

the Bloggess and 'New York Times' bestselling author of 'Furiously Happy'

But this is not just an inside-the-cult book; this is the story of a woman who attempted everything in her power to get out of it. “I learned on my journey through self-help programs that I had experienced covert abuse,” writes the author. “Too much had happened to me and around me, and much of it had been off-kilter.”

If writing is an evacuation tool to process and understand abuse, Kohn has done an excellent job of producing a text that oozes with honesty and truth.

Kirkus Reviews

Kohn’s journey is as riveting as it is shocking. To the Moon and Back is an unflinchingly candid and revelatory book.

Hilary Daninhirsch

Foreward Reviews

Lisa Kohn shows us in her powerful memoir that it is possible to find peace and contentment despite having a rocky, unstable and often confusing childhood.

Madeleine Black

Author of 'Unbroken'

Moving and inspiring! Lisa courageously details how she collected mere threads of childhood normalcy to weave a life strengthened by resiliency and love.
Cara Bradley

Author of 'On The Verge'

Lisa’s story is riveting, redeeming and oh so inspiring. I couldn’t put it down.

Cheryl Rice

Author of 'Where Have I Been All My Life'

Lisa Kohn offers a personal perspective about life and love within the Unification Church. It’s a heartfelt examination of what it’s like to be kid growing up in a ‘cult.’ And about difficulties with family, friends, and adolescence that are often complicated and exacerbated by groups called cults due to their dramas and dynamics. Often when former members from such groups write about their personal journey and recovery it can potentially enlighten everyone who reads it. Accounts like Lisa Kohn’s are a necessary ingredient for our collective education because they give us an inside view that only an ex-member can provide.

Rick Ross

Executive Director, Cult Education Institute

Lisa Kohn writes with an honesty that will grip you immediately and take you on her harrowing, expansive, journey. You won’t be able to help yourself. You’ll be compelled to read her fascinating story—which will entertain, discomfort, and broaden you—and you’ll be better for it.  She is a fierce, true spirit, who finds her way past anything childhood threw at her—including fanatical cults, confusing love, and life in the dangerous East Village—and makes us see that healing and finding your own ground is always possible.

Tama Kieves

USA Today featured visionary career catalyst and best-selling author of 'Thriving through Uncertainty'

One person’s crazy cult is another one’s sanctuary. When you are a child from a broken home and that person is your mother (so deep into being a Moonie that you are best friends with the leader’s kids), and your father is a party-hearty hippie bartender, a lifetime of confusion, and more, is sure to follow. Kohn’s long and twisted journey to make sense of it all will have you quickly thinking ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ and marveling at the resilience of the human spirit.

Jo Maeder

Author of the bestselling memoir 'When I Married My Mother'

to the moon and back is a wild and honest ride that makes sense of complex and sometimes painful experiences with heart, grit, and courage. Lisa’s energy, infectious positivity, and transparency about her own life journey and all its twists and turns will inspire any woman who’s looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Kelly McNelis

Founder of Women For One, author of 'Your Messy Brilliance'

Wow. What a read. I truly had trouble putting it down.

Catherine Gilbert Murdoch

Author of 'Dairy Queen' and 'Book of Boy'

What a read. An inside look at the moonies the cult we heard about ages ago and thought was too far out to be real. Well, I guess it’s real and far out but not in a good way. This was so well written it was hard to put down and hard to believe.

Dawn W.

Netgalley Member Reviewer

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