Verdict: SCARS AMONG US reflects on a difficult life, characterized by childhood sex abuse and its lasting impact, but it does so using generalization over specificity and linear action over themes, making it feel personal rather than universal.
In SCARS AMONG US, C.S. Hunt reflects on the difficult experiences she navigated first as a toddler, then as a girl, and later as a young woman. Looking back from the vantage point of middle age, Hunt’s biography considers how those experiences continue to impact her life.
Hunt’s book was partly inspired by the #metoo movement and its appeal to speak up and speak out. She therefore uses the memoir to process her abuse by her uncle which began when the author was three or four years old. After Hunt’s mother’s unexpected death, her aunt cared for her during the week, allowing Hunt’s father to continue his job and to take her on the weekends.
While the arrangement was meant to provide Hunt with the continuity of family, the sudden shock of losing her mother and the safety of home was devastating. Of course, the devastation was deepened by her uncle’s sexual abuse. Although Hunt told her father about her uncle’s behavior, her family sought to cast off the pedophile uncle with minimal disturbance to the family and community. Hunt was never able to come to terms or in any way reckon with her multiple losses.
Naturally, Hunt views this set of circumstances as setting her down a path of incredibly rocky terrain, which she followed in seeking out other abusers for partners and in raising children in and out of abusive relationships. Hunt also narrates her efforts to navigate her father and stepmother’s deaths, and she describes how she is still working to navigate a beloved family member’s sentencing for child pornography and related charges of abuse and exploitation.
Hunt’s biography is at times experimental, especially in the early chapters, where she adopts different, sometimes confusing perspectives. The book was clearly difficult for her to write, and because of that difficulty, Hunt pulls back on her story where it would benefit from further specificity (she repeatedly suggests that material isn’t suitable for the book) and does not develop important themes. It ultimately isn’t clear what message—beyond the events of her life—Hunt wants the reader to truly feel and understand.
SCARS AMONG US reflects on a difficult life, characterized by childhood sex abuse and its lasting impact, but it does so using generalization over specificity and linear action over themes, making it feel personal rather than universal.
~Molly Gage for IndieReader