COME HERE by Richard Berendzen

COME HERE

A Man Overcomes the Tragic Aftermath of Childhood Sexual Abuse

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A scandal broke out a few years ago when American University president Berendzen was caught making sexually oriented phone calls to strangers. Here, Berendzen (Is My Armor Straight?, 1985) and Palmer (Shrapnel in the Heart, 1987) team up to tell the harrowing story of the academician's childhood sexual abuse--abuse that festered until its tragic eruption during middle age. Berendzen's mother first seduced the author when he was eight and continued until he was eleven, stopping for reasons as unspoken as her motivations for the abuse in the first place. Berendzen blocked the episodes from his consciousness and lost himself in work, becoming an astronomer, a professor at Harvard, and, finally, president of AU. Workaholism had destroyed his first marriage, but his second was happy and stable, as wife Gail worked with him to upgrade AU's image and put it on the road to financial prosperity; together, they became prominent on the Washington social scene. But, gradually, disturbing compulsions began to intrude upon Berendzen's carefully controlled life. He found himself making furtive phone calls to day-care providers who had advertised in Washington newspapers. He would quiz them about sexual activities with children and lead them on with confessions of his own invented exploits. The author never linked the calls to what he'd suffered, and, he says, never got sexual pleasure from them: He was trying to find out, in a confused way, what makes adults use children for such sick purposes. One woman decided to trap Berendzen and taped his calls: Exposed and forced to resign his position, he entered the John Hopkins clinic for sexual disorders and began to face his past. Berendzen's story of his recovery, his wife and daughter's steadfastness, his efforts on behalf of other abuse survivors, and his final forgiveness of his parents is told with honesty, eloquence and humility. An inspiring and compelling work. (Photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-679-41777-X
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1993




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

IndieI AM ME by Patrick Dati
by Patrick Dati
NonfictionPEE-SHY by Frank Spinelli
by Frank Spinelli