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A painful, provocative, and poetically cathartic memoir of survival.

A writer and teacher chronicles her terrifying experience with kidnapping and rape and how she survived the ensuing trauma.

Naughton’s first trip to Belize dazzled her. Not only did she fall in love with the country’s natural beauty, but also with a handsome native. Knowing she would go back, she prayed that God would send her “an experience of love so big, [she would] have to change [her] life to comprehend it.” That wish became reality but not in the way Naughton could have imagined. When she did not find her lover at the shop where he worked, she took a cab back to her beachside cabana. Naughton began to realize that all was not as it seemed when the driver told her that he had to find change for her cab fare. The next thing she knew, he was holding a knife to her chin and telling her he wanted all her money. For the next day and a half, Naughton was the prisoner of a troubled man who threatened her while revealing his own deep emotional wounds. Naughton began to steel herself for “X”—that is, the rape she knew was inevitable. Yet rather than hate the driver—whom she called “the jaguar man”—she found her heart opening to him. She writes that the love she felt was “particular to him, jaguar love, love of survival, miracle love, love born in snarls, love with teeth.” She did not report the incident to local authorities; instead, she chose to focus on her own healing. Her path eventually led her to a progressive church minister who helped her come to a profound spiritual revelation about the true nature of love and human connection. Naughton’s book is brief, but the power of its message to survivors of sexual assault about finding peace through compassion is undeniable.

A painful, provocative, and poetically cathartic memoir of survival.

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-942094-20-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Central Recovery Press

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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