Written in poetic prose, the author, Jessica Teich, takes us on a journey of self-understanding. Why did she hide herself from those she loved? Why did she derail her own right to love and be loved? Why did she ultimately put up with accepting so little from life? The author ultimately comes to an understanding about a harrowing period of sexual and physical abuse she suffered as a teen, and the effect it had on every aspect of her present reality.
But this is not a mere memoir of an abuse survivor. This is a story of how a woman, a mother, a wife and a daughter came to grips with her own psyche, allowing herself the freedom to live, love, and enjoy the life she was given. She strives to do more than muddle through life as an automaton. She craved the closeness that life had denied her. This is the story of how the author came to realize that everything that was truly important was right in front of her for the taking, if she simply opened her heart, mind, and her arms.
We witness this trek of discovery through the author’s obsession concerning a suicide of a promising, brilliant and newly married compatriot named Lacey. As far as the world was concerned this young woman who had killed herself had everything to live for. It was baffling. The author had to find an answer. She didn’t even understand why she needed to pursue an understanding of Lacey. But she knew it would have a lasting effect on her own future.
The juxtaposition of these two lives, the young suicide and the author, provides a compelling read. It becomes a mystery, we the reader, need to have answered. We need to understand. We need to know the reason why. We need to delve into what makes a person so vulnerable, and fragile that they can no longer bear being alive.
And in this search for answers the author, and perhaps the reader, finds a part of themselves that went missing years ago. We see the author struggle to break free from her own past and fight and demand the right to be happy. We learn that life is a wonderful experience that we are entitled to enjoy.
We also learn that we have a right to be free from abuse, hurt and denigration. We learn that noone has the right to harm you. We understand that as human beings we have the right to say,” no.”
I will be honest. I was very afraid to read this book. I do not handle books about cruelty well. They give me nightmares. Perhaps it’s because of the vulnerability we all feel as human beings, to think that someone out there may take pleasure in harming those you love. But the wonderful aspect of this book, is the way the author handles issues, and most of all the fact that she gives the reader true hope. Hope that all will one day be OK with her, and with those she loves.
Note: sexual and physical abuse is a real problem. We call it domestic abuse when people are married, but seem to ignore it when it happens among teens. But abusers don’t simply start abusing when they become adults, it has and was always a way of life for them. If you suspect that someone you know may be in an abusive relationship, whether it is a romantic partner or a homelife situation, please speak up. Mention it to someone who can help. Let them know they are not alone and that they are entitled to live free from fear.
If you are a victim of abuse tell a teacher, a counselor a youth officer. Seek out a woman’s shelter. And yes, not all victims of abuse are woman. Males are also abused in relationships. Seek out help. Tell someone. There are people in this world who can and will help you.
National Domestic Abuse Hotline US 1-800-799-7233; TTY 1-8–787-3224
Love Is Respect (organization specifically dedicated to teen dating violence) 1.866.331.9474