A raw and powerful account from a survivor of unspeakable abuse.

SCARED SELFLESS

MY JOURNEY FROM ABUSE AND MADNESS TO SURVIVING AND THRIVING

A psychologist recounts the sexual abuse/enslavement she suffered as a child and how she overcame its horrific effects on her life as a teenager and an adult.

Stevens was 8 years old when Gary Lundquist came into her life. A primary schoolteacher and toystore owner, his apparent interest was in the author’s impoverished, poorly educated mother. But shortly after the pair began dating, Lundquist declared his intention to develop a “special relationship” with Stevens and took the child home with her mother’s consent. There, he began to “train” her as a sex slave whom he also prostituted to other equally sadistic pedophiles. The abuse, which Stevens could not articulate to her mother, continued for six years. Forced into silence about her double life, the author developed physical symptoms, including paralyzing headaches, dizziness, and nosebleeds, and she tried to commit suicide. At this time, she developed dissociative identity disorder, and two of her multiple personalities—“Mooch,” who was outgoing and fearless, and “Michelle,” who was shy and quiet—began to form. But it was not until the end of college that Stevens experienced her first “body hijacking” by one of her personalities. Unable to remember what happened during these “hijackings” or the traumas she had suffered as a child sex slave, she searched desperately for answers while continuing to suffer bouts of debilitating, often suicidal depression. In the end, it was the empathetic, nonjudgmental kindness of a dedicated therapist—who later became Stevens’ professional role model—that saved her life and gave her the courage to begin the journey toward psychological health. Courageous and insightful, Stevens’ book is not only important for the light it sheds on some of the effects of extreme sexual abuse. It also provides hope to survivors that living “a successful and satisfying life” is absolutely possible.

A raw and powerful account from a survivor of unspeakable abuse.

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-17338-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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

NIGHT

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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