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

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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

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

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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

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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