“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”
This book was recommended to me by a friend, Mike H. He’s a wonderful man from my church who gives blood at our blood drives. At the latest drive in February, I realized that he was a writer for the Daily Press, one of our local newspapers. I mentioned to him that I had studied journalism in college and created this little blog of mine.
Shortly thereafter, he messaged me on Facebook and we started chatting about the blog, writing, and a few mutual friends. I told him about the review I wrote on Tornado Warning, and that I was an abuse survivor.
That’s when he recommended this book.
I bought it almost immediately.
Once it arrived, it took me at least a week to get the courage to start reading it, but once I started, I couldn’t stop.
Janine’s story haunted me. Her abuse started at a younger age, and it happened repeatedly, by multiple men, over a period of 25-plus years. Reading her descriptions of her sexual assaults, in particular, made my skin crawl.
Still, reading those passages only drove me to continue. I knew the story was primarily about her sister, Amy, but it was fascinating to see her story interwoven with Amy’s. How two sisters suffered similar abuses, yet in different ways.
One of the biggest marks that it left on me was that Amy worked for Kimberly-Clark in Knoxville, Tennessee. My aunt was slated to transfer to Knoxville while working for K-C years ago, but it didn’t happen. My heart hammered, wondering if she had ever crossed paths with Amy.
Regardless, as an abuse survivor, several things that happened to Janine and Amy resonated with me.
These are several of the signs of abuse that I didn’t recognize until years later:
- The constant feeling of walking on eggshells when talking to / being around your partner – You never feel calm / relaxed around them.
- Being contacted multiple times by phone / text/ Facebook message, etc. – Always checking in, concerned if I was minutes late to something with him.
- Restricting time with friends and family.
- Manipulating ideas and thoughts (Example: John put the idea in my head that my own mother was one of the laziest people on this Earth, and he convinced me to tell her that. It was absolutely awful. Mom forgave me, but I still feel terrible about that, all these years later.)
- Certain habits become routine / expected – John was always hunting for the new trends, and wanted me to go along with him. He wanted me to wear what he thought looked best. He asked me multiple times to change clothes (phrased as, “You’re wearing that?”), even if I felt great in what I had been wearing.
This book hit me harder than Tornado Warning, which surprised me. I remember reading the end of this book while Al was asleep next to me in bed, and my eyes filled with tears as I closed the book, filled with gratitude that I found and married the man who loves me for who I am and doesn’t want to change me.
I’m glad I read this. It renewed my gratitude that I am a survivor, but also renewed my awareness that women (and men) still suffer from, and die from, abuse every single day.
This book has motivated me, finally, to write down my own story, piece by piece.
5 out of 5 stars.
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂
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