The Sunshine Place

Reviews For The Sunshine Place

Like other reviews, I feel it jumped around too much and was too long. The child abuse and neglect was horrific and unimaginable. And of course, Hollywood glorifies it! The parents who subjected their children to such abuse and neglect should’ve been charged. The adults who stood around and watched the abuse of the children should also be charged. Although it seemed as if Chuck was a cult leader at times, he made it very clear that people could leave if they didn’t like it. I do not believe any of the adults were victims. My heart breaks for the children who had their childhood stolen from them.
I truly enjoyed this pod cast, well done, thoroughly researched and fascinating!! So good!!
First couple of episodes were interesting, but the last few were just rambling and disjointed. What was the purpose of this podcast? It never really went anywhere or provided any new information In regards to “cult” activity. More of a “pity me for making dumb decisions and being led”
This is a really unusual story. Excellent podcast. Good job. Will recommemnd to everyone.
I grew up in the Los Angeles area during the rise of Synanon hearing warnings and whispers about the cult. I found this podcast to be fascinating and convincing in its authenticity. I also suffered from alcoholism and became sober in 1984 in the South Bay through a group in the conventional 12 step spiritual program. To see the extent of the damage an alcoholic personality can cause in the case of Chuck Dederich was astounding. It makes me even more grateful for the gift and legacy of recovery, and underscores the importance of observing traditions.
I see a lot of reviews on here about how reviewers wanted the former cult members to repent for their misdeeds or how those folks spoke made them uncomfortable and therefore gave low reviews. That’s absurd. To demand that the truth fit into your worldview and when it doesn’t, you huffily give fewer stars to a wonderfully complex and complicated podcast that doesn’t shy away from the truth is childish. It makes things worse for everyone in the long run when you incentivize moralizing about things that are sometimes morally gray. If you are so fragile that you can’t listen to how other people experienced both the good and the bad, the abusive and the joyous, don’t listen to this podcast. But, if you are interested in listening to a wide array of perspectives in a beautifully produced and written show, add this one right now.


By plaksn
This podcast jumped around a lot. But my main issue is that not one person who was in Synanon apologized or seemed to feel bad about abusing children. Where is the empathy? Hearing these stories of the kids who group up in Thai cult and then hearing the adults not take any responsibility was just awful. The last episode almost idolized Chuck which left me feeling disgusted.
Best podcast ever
Very well done pod. Like a good book. Fascinating story.
I never heard of this one. Interesting to learn about Chuck and this group. The constant use of the antiquated term, “dope fiend” in 2022 by the very people who suffered this addiction, is really disturbing. Every time it was uttered, I wanted to shut it off. It’s so derogatory and absurd. A fiend? Really?
What can I say… I thought this was great! I will be searching out more and more info on chuck dietrich. I really enjoy hearing about group think and the actions of the group. Any break away from societal norms really speaks to me. (Mindful that I work a 9-5 job, own a house and pay my taxes) I was talking to a friend about this podcast, chuck and Synanon and asked “how come I’m not in a cult” like how does it happen. Where and when. I lived in Los Angeles for 10+ years and specifically on the Santa Monica / Venice border at 5th & Colorado blvd in 2000-2001 and never got caught up in a cult. Feel like I’m missing out. I need a good brain washing. I liked when I heard one of the dope fiends say that. All of it was wild though. Really did feel at times like chuck was a mad relationship environment scientist. Just a dash here a pinch there a wallah “every body switch partners” - definitely worth a listen. It’s easy to see how communities, cultures and ideas can succeed and fail regardless of the first intentions. Synanon was a snapshot of that. A burst. The end was cool as well when they made comparisons to todays teenage recovery boot camps and draw a parallel line to what Chuck was doing. Well done.
Such a fascinating subject but the narration is so flat. Like a bad PBS or Weekly Reader documentary. It also really bounces around a lot with little back story or explanation. The story would be better told If put into some kind of recognizable chronological order and certain story lines could have used a deeper look. I was left thinking “well then what happened?” Several times. The episode about the Rancher being attacked was one in particular that was just left hanging.
This podcast would have been more interesting if it moved faster. Some chaff could have been left on the cutting room floor.
Sari Crawford did an amazing job of putting together the variety of experiences which so many of us share. It was so well edited and compellingly narrated. Her father, Bill Crawford was one of the kindest, most intelligent people in Synanon. He and I shared the distinction of being truly hated by Chuck Dederich. I didn’t look over my shoulder, I left with my two youngest children, who had been in the school, for Ireland. We had a wonderful few months there and backpacked through Europe. But the process of dealing with trauma still awaited us. I am thankful for the years I spent in Synanon, and thankful that I no longer feel burdened by trauma. The people I met there were so lovable that I will never forget them, especially Bill.
This was truly a fantastic story, as well as a great storyteller. I am sad that it is over.
I was hooked from episode 1. The story is compelling and incredulous at times. The episodes are well written and the storytelling is riveting.
The story is super interesting but unfortunately the show is badly written and the narrator is robotic and amateurish.
The series episodes jumped all over the place and some characters were revisited while others were not. This material and the people impacted deserved worthier more coherent and cohesive story telling
I am utterly riveted. Excellent storytelling, world building, and perspective sharing.
Thanks for sharing your story and personal dealings with us. Very well written. Enjoyed!
Absolutely amazing podcast!!!!
Well written produced, and told. A cautionary tale.
So well done. I enjoyed the whole series but the ending was the best. Thanks Sari! You are a great storyteller!
Wow, what a story. I just couldn’t wait for the next episode. You never know what’s going on around you. Nice job Sari Crawford!
Gets really mundane and tedious after a while.
This was an intriguing story. Sari does an excellent job of weaving the story into 8 episodes. And hearing the voices of those that experienced it firsthand made it even more interesting.
The story is interesting but it jumps around the timeline, the adult ex members make a lot of excuses why it was ok to abuse children and other people. None of the adults seem very remorseful for their actions and some of the stories start get you invested and then are never revisited.
The Sunshine place is about a group intended in recovery turned cult. Awesome journalism and incredible narration that really brings it together! Found this in a whim and glad I stayed till the end!
Kudos to the Downey’s! Sari is Awesome ♥️
The episodes can’t come fast enough!
I’m a connoisseur of podcasts about cults and can tell you this is one of the better ones. The archival material is expertly put together in a riveting tale of utopia gone bad. The scope and breadth of the project is immense. I love the recreation of Chuck’s voice - his power of personality and dangerous ideas really come through. Great listening. Thank you!
I love how mysterious Sari’s voice sounds. For one of her firsts podcasts, this is excellent work! Hope she’s narrating more to come.
I think this series is missing the acute detail and explanations of circumstances required to impact the listener. The vagueness of the testimonies becomes tiresome. And I keep waiting for someone to provide enough exposition to tie the different eras of the org together and it never really happens. I’m wondering how interesting this story really is. Jerk helps people. Helped people follow jerk. Jerk continues being a jerk. Helped people realize he’s a jerk. The most cowed people don’t realize that the jerk is a jerk until way too late. The only good lesson to take from this podcast is that playing around with human institutions like parenthood, marriage and personal responsibility always ends up in ruins. There are no new tricks to humans. And people who claim there are should be kept at a distance.
I’m loving this! So interesting I had never heard of Synanon
Never had heard anything about this group. The way the show is told from inside the group is great. And it is done with a great balance of showing the bad, and good that went on. Almost nothing is black and white. And the host and people giving interviews tell a detailed and entertaining story, and in a way that doesn’t only celebrate or demonize. Very very well done. I tried the show, expecting to not stick with it, here I am waiting for Wednesdays for the next episodes to drop.
I loved this series! My morning walks ended before I realized it.
Love the format of this show. I am binging it It’s a must listen 👍👍
Interesting story, well produced and very creative Can’t wait for all the episodes
Descriptions of child abuse, violence, and public humiliation are extremely disturbing.
Captivating summary of the history. I felt a full range of emotions listening to each Episode. I like the balance of how it highlighted the high ideals which drew in the wealthy, educated “lifestylers” as opposed to focusing on the down trodden dope addicts. I think the complexity of the place is far more interesting then the obvious interpretation of a “cult”. Then abuse of power and manipulation is astounding and the fact that so many “normal” educated, well-meaning people found themselves submitting to the whims of the founder. It’s mind blowing and the part I found most interesting. More of this please !
I’m into it, BUT to say “addicts helping addicts, it had never been done before” is very untrue as AA has been around since the 1930s. And the term “dope fiend” used so flagrantly is a little disturbing. The term addict would’ve been just fine 🤨
Kind of annoying having to wait so long for another episode
It’s a super interesting podcast and I do enjoy the episodes!! But, the storytelling is just so unorganized and hard to follow. It’s a lot of jumping around between stories. Some parts are really fascinating but doesn’t go into a lot of detail. Other parts seem like they’re just filling time.
the narrator changes the vibe of this story. she has no emotion and it's hard to believe she had skin in the game: the editing of reintroducing each member several times in the episode is frustrating. the story is incredible and the access to the interviews with folks great. just feel as if it needs tweaking,
I love listening to podcasts about cults. This one has lots of first hand knowledge and interviews that really show what it was like to be in the cult and how peoples views changed. Top notch!
Prior episodes building to this. The story is getting even more crazy now. Definitely keeps your interest to see what’s next.
I’ve listened to 5.5 episodes. If you want to hear the same thing over and over. Droning narration this is the podcast for you.
What happened to the rest of this excellent series???!!! I’ve been waiting for Episode 7 forever!!!!’