Galloway tells the story of her lifelong recovery from child abuse in this debut memoir.
The author writes that when she was a child, she suffered physical abuse from her father, sexual abuse from her grandfather, and neglect from her mother. These experiences, she says, gave her a warped worldview in which she felt that she had no worth, no identity, and no hope. These feelings, and the belief that she deserved to be punished, led her to attempt suicide in college in the early 1970s. She was admitted to the university’s psychiatric ward, which she describes as “the most depressive and oppressive environment I had ever experienced,” and then to a traumatic halfway house. For several years after that, she says that she endured manipulative relationships with her mother, her friend Laura, and Laura’s mother, which led her to completely lose her sense of self. Finally, in 2009, as a “scared, confused, and lonely child in a 61-year old body,” Galloway began getting the help she needed. A good friend provided her with a safe place to live, a skilled counselor taught her new thought patterns, and she read numerous self-help books. Despite occasional setbacks, she says that she has now “integrated [her] various pieces into a new and improved whole person”; in the final chapter, she summarizes how this was possible. Over the course of this remembrance, Galloway reveals her story in a subtle but captivating way by blending expressive journal entries, candid details about her life, and direct pieces of advice to the reader. She also lays out the various elements of her recovery one piece at a time, doing so in an earnest and believable way, making it clear that it all required hard work to accomplish. Additionally, her explicit analysis of the psychological consequences of abuse—and how to mitigate them—is profound and eye-opening. Her insights will surely help fellow abuse survivors make sense of their own emotions, find reason to hope, and begin taking solid steps toward recovery.
A harrowing but hopeful narrative.