A moving and immensely informative study on how the long road to abuse recovery can directly affect motherhood.

WOMEN WHO WERE SEXUALLY ABUSED AS CHILDREN

MOTHERING, RESILIENCE, AND PROTECTING THE NEXT GENERATION

A psychotherapist offers intensive reflections from and about female survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Through interviews, profiles, qualitative studies, and her own professional experiences, debut author Gil channels her veteran career in abuse recovery into this poignant and illuminating volume on survivorship. She focuses primarily on women who have become mothers despite the harrowing ordeals clouding their youths and how they raise their own children amid lingering emotional challenges. The book’s opening chapters provide plainspoken declarations of what childhood sexual abuse encompasses, the long-term deleterious mental health ramifications, and how self-medication provides only temporary relief. Other sections examine the specific qualities found in nurturing and protective mothers and how a professional therapeutic relationship can cultivate those attributes, foster recovery, and counsel parents in their critical roles at home. Her text also mines the dynamics of revictimization and the intergenerational transmission of abuse possible throughout a survivor’s life. The themes Gil explores are intensified and greatly personalized with quotes, stories, and passages from scores of interviews she’s conducted with women who are rearing kids in contemporary society as well as those who have already parented adult offspring. This material shows how time and healing have changed their views over the course of their motherhoods. “By sharing common experiences, women can begin to transform shame into pride, and silence into strength,” the author writes. Her probing yet respectful scrutiny exposes the atrocities of childhood sexual abuse while beautifully revealing the brave struggles of mothers who have persevered, given birth, and lovingly supported their kids. Gil’s affecting narrative celebrates the emotional and physical strength of female survivors, and she admits to being in a constant state of awe at her subjects’ tenacity and their ability to “maintain a sense of humor and to be compassionate and caring toward others while they courageously grapple with the difficult and painful issues that arise in the therapeutic process.” The book’s analytical approach and academic tone and format make it an ideal resource for childhood abuse clinicians and educators as well as for survivors who are open to discovering aspects of other women’s experiences and coping mechanisms. For lay readers, Gil closes each chapter with useful summary sections clarifying and underscoring key points and perspectives.

A moving and immensely informative study on how the long road to abuse recovery can directly affect motherhood.   

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5381-0177-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 21

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

more