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About the author:
Grace Peterson divides her time between working as an administrative assistant, writing and gardening. She is a member of The Association of Writing Excellence and The National Association of Memoir Writers and has published essays in several anthologies. She authors two blogs and writes a newspaper garden column. She is the proud mother of four grown children, four friendly felines, and has been married to her best friend since 1980. Her second book is in publication. Please visit her blog at www.gracepete.com.
This memoir centers on author Grace Peterson's psychological damage from life with a dysfunctional family and an abusive "therapist." The story is not presented as "creative nonfiction" but as truthful as the author's perspective permits. However, the work is structured like a story, with a prologue that sets the tone and a narrative with main characters and a satisfying resolution.
The story begins in the prologue during an earthquake. The author is a young mother who is forced to realize that she needs help. This sets the tone for the book. The story launches into an account of the narrator's dysfunctional early years, including tales of abuse. The author refers to family members as "the mother," "the father," and "the sisters," indicating a strange detachment. "The parents" divorce, "the mother" moves to Hawaii and marries "the stepfather" who is abusive, and "the mother" sends the girls back to the mainland and their birth father. The book follows the narrator through her high school relationships and experimentation with drugs and sex. Peterson is excellent at capturing the zeitgeist: the Watergate hearings, "Jaws" and the "energy crisis" that were the background noise-this was a time when kids were expendable, when the adults partied upstairs while the kids played in the basement. Some portions jump out, like when the narrator thinks of her best friend. "I have enough anger in me to kill you," she thinks. Peterson is plagued by panic attacks and bad dreams. As an adult, she has nightmares she'll harm her kids and finally seeks help from a fanatical and abusive "therapist."
I began reading with skepticism, seeing this as just another confessional, but the prose grabbed hold. Peterson is adept at seeing the unique in the mundane. Maybe the abuse is also a thread in the cultural fabric which draws the writer to healing through her writing.
Reviewed by Stacia Levy
Grace's turbulent childhood, with father's violent temper and mother's apathy, their divorce, and her relocation with her mother and siblings to Hawaii, where she experiences racism and violence, sets the stage for this incredible real-life tale of abuse, brainwashing, and ~ ultimately ~ the long journey to recovery.
At seventeen, Grace experiences love for the first time, but is soon unable contain the traumas of her past. Seeking a remedy from what she perceives as a spiritual problem, she enlists the aid of Brock, a charismatic exorcist and cult expert. Grace stumbles into a world of
esoteric rituals, Luciferian doctrines, and
New World Order conspiracies.
This gripping narrative illustrates how children adapt to a hostile environment, can grow up misreading their untreated traumas, and, while searching for answers, fall prey to unscrupulous charlatans who heap more damage onto an already wounded soul.
- Publication Date:
- 0989403203 / 9780989403207
- Page Count:
- Binding Type:
- US Trade Paper
- Trim Size:
- 6" x 9"
- Black and White
- Related Categories:
- Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs