Verdict: Barbara Weber examines the physical and emotional devastation wrought by years of childhood abuse at the hands of her father in this poorly constructed book lacking in meaningful details.
Barbara Weber’s memories of pain and fear begin at three years old, when she woke up screaming, convinced her hand was caught in the door. She remembers being molested by her father at age 5 and again at 10, although she assumes the abuse was continuous through these years. Her mother provided no protection or solace, and Weber’s father eventually lost his job after a neighborhood child accused him of attempted sexual assault.
Weber tells her story in fractured pieces, jumping from a chapter about the death of her father-in-law to one about her childhood abuse, back to a chapter dealing with her extreme allergies. Interspersed in the narrative are poems Weber wrote and pictures she painted during her recovery. She relied heavily on the insights of doctors and therapists to help unravel her tightly held secret of abuse and understand the psychical and emotional toll it took on her.
Growing up in the 1950s, Weber never felt safe confiding her secret, nor did she understand the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which she believes manifested as early as three years old. As an adult, she felt like “a plastic doll,” easily manipulated by others. Weber’s first husband verbally abused her during their deeply unhappy marriage. She once tried to commit suicide, and depression plagued her for years.
Weber’s therapy began during that troubled marriage, and her therapist became instrumental in supporting her decision to divorce with two young children in tow. Weber, who managed to pursue her educational goals and become a teacher, went on to remarry. Her second marriage had its struggles, blending two sets of children and coping with her husband’s alcoholism, but Weber credits her husband along with her doctors for helping her heal.
Weber describes in detail her physical maladies and analyzes her dreams, exercises that are just as dull as they sound. She unfortunately leaves out details that would make this story come alive. She provides scant description of her father or her family dynamics. Frequent instances of repetition and grammatical and punctuation errors frustrate. Some of Weber’s memories are very powerful, but she fails to explore and connect them in an effective way.
Barbara Weber examines the physical and emotional devastation wrought by years of childhood abuse at the hands of her father in this poorly constructed book lacking in meaningful details.
~Jane Constantineau for IndieReader