In short chapters that alternate between remembered scenes of abuse, reflections upon those scenes, and tributes to the natural beauties and human kindnesses that tempered years of domestic violence, the author provides a galling, but not sensationalistic, record of what child abuse looks and feels like. Only when she was older and mostly beyond the reach of a father who routinely beat and sexually abused her and her siblings did the author find out that her father had been dismissed from a police force for gratuitous violence and had subsequently submitted to electroshock treatments for mental illness.

The title describes the nature of the narrative; in its deliberate discontinuities it testifies to the stated fact that there are places where memory has left a blank. Much of the telling is an attempt to piece together a story of recurrent violence, felt danger, and arbitrary rage that seemed at the time both regular and unpredictable.

The sanity of the narrative testifies to the possibility of healing. The writer makes no large claims for final or complete release from the effects of trauma, but does strongly testify to the possibility of a loving, happy, functional adult life as healing continues.


The book makes a significant contribution in the way it may inform those who know little about how abused children live, and may encourage victims of abusive homes to find ways to tell their story safely and be released from secrecy, which can be the hardest part of the burden they carry. It doesn't offer extensive analysis or systematic psychological explanation.

It leaves many questions unanswered. The simplicity of its objective may leave some readers frustrated who want a more probing treatment of causes and effects; all it purports to do is to bear witness to a situation that imprisons many women and children as well as men who perpetrate abuse and declares that it is possible to escape and to recover life and hope.


Authorlink Press

Place Published

Irving, Tex.



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