I admit this is not a genre of book I would actively chose to read, despite the rave reviews from many friends. Based on their recommendation I down-loaded it to my Kindle for vacation reading. I started reading it yesterday evening, picked it up again this morning and couldn’t put it down until I’d finished the last page.
By it’s end I wanted to take the little Niamh, hold her close and keep her safe. I was enraged and saddened that any child should have to live, come to terms with, and ultimately write, this story.
Niamh was an imaginative lively child, yet believed she must have been bad and deserving of the thoughtless abuse of a controlling mother, the taunts and actions of sadistic nuns and rape, aged nine, at the hands of a friend’s father followed by years of mental and physical self-abuse.
What makes the book memorable and moving is the simple clarity of the writing, the lilting, haunting images Niamh paints of her life growing up in Ireland with two older brothers, a sea-faring father and schooled by catholic nuns.
Her use of singing and imagination to obscure her suffering at the hands of ‘responsible’ adults only brings home to us, the readers, just how damaging that torment was.
She tells her story without self-pity and with a purity of spirit which resonate in the heart long after the book is finished. She doesn’t flinch from pain, humiliation or loss but recounts events as they happened reflecting the confusion and consternation of the young. She struggles to understand why things have happened to her, always blaming herself.
The damaged child becomes the damaged adult but Niamh’s journey to understanding and salvation is compelling and beautifully drawn. Her escape from Ireland to England, Greece, marriage to a Dutchman, the birth of her daughter and creating a life in the Netherlands – all an attempt to leave the pain of her youth behind.
We will her to find the inner strength and self-belief to confront her past and face the future as herself, the wonderful, warm, confident woman she is.
This book will enrich you as Niamh moves from darkness into a brighter future. It will make you wonder that people can recover from the most awful situations and find hope.
This book is worth your time; please read it, it’s courageous, inspiring and ultimately uplifting.
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- Paperback: 274 pages
- Publisher: Summertime Publishing (31 Jan 2011)
- Language English
- ISBN-10: 1904881319
- ISBN-13: 978-1904881315
- Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 1.6 cm