Out of extraordinary suffering, a Canadian man discovers spiritual redemption in this memoir.
Corcoran (The Bishop or the King, 2013, etc.) was one of 13 children largely raised in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He writes that his mother regularly beat him savagely and forbade him to play at school. He also says that he was denied not only affection, but also basics such as food and didn’t even know his own birthday. His siblings, he notes, were ostentatiously favored by his mother, and he often suffered at their hands. For years, he was also victimized by a sexual predator. When it came time for him to start a life of his own, he discovered that he was wholly unprepared for independence. He decided to join the Canadian military and spent three years in Germany until he was reassigned to a base in Ottawa, Ontario. There, he married a young woman who later cheated on him with one of his best friends, he says. Gripped by despair, he contemplated suicide; instead, he rediscovered his Christian faith and began attending services, finding comfort and strength. However, he asserts that a charismatic church leader manipulated him into marrying a woman who was addled by severe psychological problems. After 14 years, he left the marriage, pursued a career in Christian ministry, sought help in therapy, and married a woman he truly loved. Overall, Corcoran writes with great clarity and emotional candor and unflinchingly shares a life that was marred by trauma. However, his memoir is not a woeful lament but a celebration of redemption, composed thoughtfully and showing a profound sense of gratitude. The author’s viewpoint is decidedly religious, but he never proselytizes, and as a result, this book should appeal even to those readers who don’t share his deep religious commitments. In the end, it is remarkable that such an affecting account of childhood abuse could manage to be just as inspiring as it is shocking.
A touching, meditative account of pain and spiritual transcendence.