A debut memoir of survival from an author who finds strength in her religious faith.
Seymore (a pseudonym) recounts the horrific physical, emotional and sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father throughout her childhood. She organizes the book into chapters she calls “snapshots,” each recounting a particular memory, and doesn’t hold back when describing the physical and emotional damage her father caused; readers may recoil from accounts of her father inflicting a bone-deep cut or of the author tending to her bloodied, beaten mother. However, Seymore also leads the reader through her teenage commitment to Christianity; her faith eventually provided her with an escape, as she left home to begin a career in ministry and, ultimately, began her recovery. Throughout, the author maintains a calm, unaffected tone; although she doesn’t shy away from blaming her father for the abuse, the memoir is never bitter. The graphic snapshots convey the force of the abuse but without emotional histrionics or pleas for sympathy. The author’s account of her recovery and growth after leaving her home’s violent environment takes up only a few pages, but a planned sequel may expand on that portion of her story. Overall, readers will be left with the impression of a woman who endured a traumatic childhood and came to understand how it shaped her; along the way, she maintained a sense of strength driven by both her own personality and the support she drew from her faith. Some sensitive readers may find Seymore’s unstinting descriptions of abuse excessive, but others will appreciate her story of personal growth.
A brief but effective memoir about how an author’s abusive childhood affected her but didn’t destroy her.