From the author of "Running with Scissors: A Memoir" and "Dry: A Memoir," we are now gifted with another piece of the puzzle.
Oftentimes, a tragic childhood is recounted once, but this author has granted us more than one glimpse, choosing instead to offer pieces of the full picture in each book. I believe that the whole plate, served up all at once, would create such a horrific reaction from readers that we couldn't bear it.
This tale begins with the author's memories, from a very early age, but with major blanks—from ages two to about five—when he can scarcely remember much of anything about his father. But he recalls other events, showing the reader that memory was alive and functioning from an early age.
Throughout the book, the writer also describes events that feel like memories, but which he cannot completely validate. I believe that this is classic in cases of severe child abuse—in fact, at several points along the way, the author hints at additional abuse by describing feeling his father's presence hovering over him in his bedroom at night. Even at the end of the book, he does not fill in these gaps. Either the memories were never retrieved, or he is unable to verify their accuracy. Like the "memory" he keeps feeling that he had accompanied his father while he "buried a body."
This was such a chilling tale that I could not dismiss the feelings of so much more to be told. And the author's own history of substance abuse lends credence to some additional, possibly more violent abuse.
Having worked for years with victims of child abuse, I found this story "clicked" with what I have learned over the years. And while some may find the events described as "unbelievable," I had no difficulty visualizing any of the experiences he described.
He is to be applauded for his strength—to survive these experiences is truly wonderful.
Author of: "Web of Tyranny," etc.
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