UNSPEAKABLE ACTS by Greggory W. Morris


The Ordeal of Thomas Waters-Rimmer
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 A horrific tale of child abuse told--with, unfortunately, little skill--by the victim (now 18) and Rutgers Univ. journalism professor Morris (The Kids Next Door, 1985). Tom Waters, Jr., seems to have been born under a bad star: When he was 18 months old, his mother died trying to perform an abortion on herself. His father, Tom, Sr., packed up the boy and his four sisters and made the highway their new home. The kids slept on mattresses in the back of their pickup truck while Dad tanked up at roughhouses and returned to beat them up. When Tom, Sr., finally settled down and remarried, the truth came out- -besides beating his children, he'd also sexually molested them. Tom, Jr., was removed by social agencies and placed in a new home--where his foster father also proceeded to molest him until Tom, at age 17, at last refused to be abused any longer. Morris leaves no stone unturned in his labyrinthine explorations of the Waters family, including the innuendo that Tom's mother died from drinking a poisoned can of Coca-Cola. But the text lacks any well-defined sense of forward movement; is overloaded with minor characters whose place is unclear; and is written in an industrial style that ill serves its story. While one can sympathize with Waters's attempt through writing to confront, and to free himself from, the evil that's plagued his young life, his memoir ends up having little to offer others. (Twenty-five b&w photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1993
ISBN: 0-688-09483-X
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993