Fraser’s subtitle is accurate; this book tells about a middle-aged woman rediscovering her difficult past of incest from her father and abuse, as a child, from another man. She tells her life story of growing up in a working-class neighborhood in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, going to university, marrying, and becoming a journalist. All the while, anger and rage fuel her, but it is only after surgery (for fibroids) and psychotherapy that she can recall the abuse and has it corroborated by others. Fraser understands that her personality split into three personae; she uses her dreams, her writing (including six novels), and her childhood drawings to understand what happened to her. Finally she is able to forgive her father (although after his death) and continue with her successful career as a writer.


This was a landmark book; it appeared in 1987 and helped to open up the subgenre of memoirs about incest survival. Because Fraser is a gifted writer with an extraordinary memory, her descriptions of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood are detailed and insightful. Her intelligent style gives a reader pleasure, and she is often funny. Although the incest she reports is distressing, her journey to healing is satisfying and inspiring.


Harper & Row

Place Published

New York


c 1987

Page Count