THE YEAR AFTER by Ashley Warner

THE YEAR AFTER

A Memoir
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A debut memoir about one woman’s recovery from rape.

Returning home on a sunny day to her fifth-floor New York City walk-up, 24-year-old Warner glimpsed a man standing in the hallway. Ignoring a faint intuition of warning, she opened her apartment door and the man dragged her inside by her neck and raped her at knife point on her roommate’s bed. After her assailant fled, Warner, in a haze of shock and surrealistic disbelief, called 911 and a few close friends. She had difficulty wrapping her head around her experience; instead, her mind played a summary of events on a constant loop: “There was that moment on the stairs. A confused feeling as I was swept up by the neck. I screamed. Then there was no more breath.” Warner told her story to detectives, emergency room nurses and others, each time asking, “What did I do wrong?” Although people constantly tried to reassure her, she remained unconvinced. She writes of how she later felt intensely alienated from her friends and tried to find solace in her parents; however, she couldn’t connect with her emotionally unavailable father and chose to keep her traumatic secret from her overly cautious mother. In clear, vivid detail, and in nearly poetic moments of prose (“I walked around with my senses barely inhabiting my own body”), Warner recounts the year after her ordeal, affectingly relating the uncontrollable anger and overwhelming feeling of hopelessness that consumed her as she tried to come to terms with her trauma. She perfectly exemplifies the daily challenges she faced, including the loss of her self-image and her frustration regarding her inability to identify her attacker during a lineup and subsequent trial. She finally found relief and peace through group therapy. Although her story is heartbreaking, Warner’s courageous tale of recovery will likely serve as a guiding light to those who’ve had similar, life-altering experiences.

An honest, moving and inspirational memoir of recovery.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1489557827
Page count: 350pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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