Broken reads like a novel, so may appeal to those who enjoy dark psychological fiction. This is just much harder to read because it hasn’t come from the dark imagination of the author, but her unpleasant and often shocking memories, making it impossible to distance yourself from the events in the book.
This is not light reading. You will not read this for enjoyment. You will get into the mind and soul of a broken woman. A woman who has been cruelly treated from a young age, by those closest to her, by those who should have loved and protected her.
I kept wishing it to be fiction, in the same way I wish some of my own memories were a figment of my imagination. I found myself wondering, what if the author is a chronic liar like her mother? Do I trust the author is telling me the truth? What if this is a world, albeit dark, that she has created to make up for her lack of attention or affection as a child? Does it matter even if it isn’t real? Do I allow myself to become deeply emotionally involved when there is a chance of a huge twist that reveals it was all made up? I have to be honest, the earlier stages of this book completely messed with my head.
If you have not been through anything like this yourself, you face a very descriptive, raw and brutal insight into the life of a young woman who encountered years of violence, abuse and rape at the hands of those who should have loved and cared for her. I hope it opens up your heart to what some women go through, perhaps you know a friend or family member who has experienced some of what this author has, and this will give you a better understanding of their struggles.
If you have shared any of these experiences with the author, you will be forced to revisit your own hidden memories, feel those old emotions again, and remember people and events you have spent years trying to forget. You will feel anxious, upset, angry, and emotionally drained, but through this, you will know that you are not alone in those feelings and experiences.
Your heart will have been on such an emotional rollercoaster by the end of this book, it may take some time to learn how to beat steady again. If you got to the end of this book, despite reliving old memories of your own, be proud of the fact that you got through it, you relived your own nightmares, but you got through it and are still here to live your life to the fullest. Does going through anything like this make you stronger? I’m not sure. What it does do it allow you to share those experiences with others who have been through similar, which means none of us are ever alone.
This is a hard book to recommend, as I do not wish any reader to feel how I did. At one stage I wasn’t sure if I could go on, and felt my anxiety increasing each time I picked the book up, but once I got half way it definitely became easier to read. However, another part of me wants everyone to read this, and to understand how incredibly wrong some actions are and the impact those actions have on others and the loved ones around them.
I have been left feeling emotionally drained, yet at the same time feel lighter somehow. Almost as if I’ve had a good counselling session. Much better than the reality many years ago, where I sat in a room with an old lady at the other side of the room with her glass of water and box of tissues. It felt wrong, as she was as old as my grandma, and there are some things a teenage girl does not discuss with their grandma.
It must have taken huge inner strength for the author to write this, and perhaps even more strength to publish it. I admire her for that. For sharing her personal story with the world. I hope she has achieved what she aimed to achieve by writing this book. I hope that receiving book reviews in no way makes her relive her past, but has a positive impact on her emotions. I hope the author has found peace and the ability to hold onto love, and not let her demons take that precious gift away from her.
I do strongly recommend this book, but there are a variety of topics which may trigger unpleasant emotions in readers, such as animal cruelty, aggression, bullying, domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, so I add this to the end of my review as a ‘proceed with caution’ warning.