This is one of those books that is extremely hard to read, especially if you’ve ever lived through any type of abuse yourself. When I first started reading it, I went into it completely oblivious to what the story was about, and then I had to back out and re-read the write up to realize what I was reading was, in fact, a true story. That, immediately, changed my perspective on reading this book. You see, if this had been fiction, I probably would have stopped reading after about the first tenth. It’s just that hard to read through the impacting scenes that take place in this young girl’s young life. But once I realized this was supposed to be a true story, I forced myself to keep going because if this really happened to someone, she at least deserved having someone try to understand it.
And I’m glad I did because the rest of the book actually makes the journey worth it. To be honest, the first 1/3 of the book is really hard to read through. But once you hit the 35 percent mark (the Kindle is really cool for telling you exactly that), the story changes, and you start to experience a different kind of a tale, one that’s no longer about abuse, but one that tells the struggle of a young girl becoming a woman who is attempting to find herself as a result of the previous abuse. What you discover is that she spends the rest of her life trying to find some sense of acceptance, whether it be acceptance from others, or just a solitary acceptance of other people and some semblance of belonging in a world that appears mean and cruel, and sometimes oblivious to the struggles of others.
I will admit there were a couple of points where I almost didn’t finish it, but then perservered, a lot like Abbie pushes forward through the travails that life continues to throw at her, and in the end it really was all worth it. Someone who reads up to that first part of the book and then stops would probably be impacted as well, almost needing to read the rest of this book to get the closure that seems desired and needed through this book.
Story: 4 stars
The narrative throughout was well worth reading, and the story crafted was one that leaves an impression. It’s very hard to do that with a non-fiction narrative, and there were times where I found myself comparing events with Dave Pelzer’s “A Child Called It” to the point of outrageousness. The beginning of this book is really hard to read, as it goes from child abuse to child rape to continuous child exploitation, almost to where it felt like the events were trying to outshock previous events. But then you’re left realizing this is a true story, so you can only feel compassion, and when the story is complete, feel anger that there are those out there who will go unpunished for the unspeakable acts they have carried out against innocent victims who have no way of ever striking back. The epilogue alone is poignant and casts its own shadows of despair on the depravity of humanity.
Voice: 3 1/2 stars
Although non-fiction, the author struggles to maintain a singular voice throughout the tale, as she sometimes juxtaposes the tale from fluidity to a sense that some prose the tale contains is still difficult to convey, making it disjointed at times. But overall, it carries forward very well and you get the sense of a very young girl’s memories being relived through the prism of someone decades after the events.
Mechanics: 3 stars
The book could have used an additional edit. There are numerous spelling errors, “theres” instead of “their’s”, and other mechanical errors throughout. But overall, it holds up well. There were also a number of port problems from the original manuscript to the Kindle version where the justifcation of the text was off, but as someone who has worked with porting to a Kindle myself, I completely understand that problem as there are times where it happens, and no matter what you do, it just can’t be fixed.
Cover: 4 stars
There are any number of different kinds of covers that could have been used to convey this story; the one chosen seems to do a pretty solid job. Having seen some really outrageous covers for some books on Kindle, it’s nice to see a simple, telling piece of artwork that doesn’t go out of its way to overdue an appeal to attention.
Summary: I would recommend others to read this book, keeping in mind that the first 1/3 is VERY difficult to get through.
Overall: 4 stars