AT DADDY’S HANDS: Courage Knows No Age by Jacob Paul Patchen is a powerful, disturbing look at how prevalent and complex dealing with child sexual abuse has become.
Told via multiple points of view including: perpetrator Jim Handler (the town hero working in law enforcement), his wife Ashley and their three (abused) children, Judge “No Nonsense” Norman, concerned teachers, and those providing court-mandated family therapy, AT DADDY’S HANDS: Courage Knows No Age by Jacob Paul Patchen is an important book.
The novel is based on abuse in the home; a situation sadly all too common in today’s world. What’s wonderful about this book is that it doesn’t just delve into the experience, but rather attempts to provide an overview for WHY physical, sexual, emotional abuse has become so prevalent and HOW social systems currently in place are dealing with it (hint: not very well, if multiple felony rapes can be plea-bargained down to misdemeanor “child endangerment” charges accompanied by a year of probation with community service, a mere three months out of the home, and six months of therapy). As someone who has worked in the field of mental and behavioral health, Patchen is uniquely qualified to tell this tale, and in the guise of fiction supported by fact, he develops it well.
The story of Jim Handler’s family is followed by a collection of experiences from real life survivors along with where-to-get-help Resources. In a nutshell, the scourge of sexual abuse/child rape has been passed down for so many generations, by now one need only turn on the News to discover a very large percentage of society from law enforcement to the judicial system, Hollywood to the halls of politics and even the Church are all somewhat afflicted by this issue. Patchen’s book would be improved by more showing of emotions rather than stating them (“she was agitated” “she was afraid”), and by diving a bit deeper into the reality that, one reason it may be so challenging for victims of pedophilia and domestic violence to receive justice, is likely due to the fact that these social ills are so epidemic those tasked with insuring justice is done may very well be busy protecting secrets of their own. But overall, this is a perceptive novel tackling worthy themes with compassion, insight and skill.
AT DADDY’S HANDS: Courage Knows No Age by Jacob Paul Patchen is a discerning, empathetic look at intergenerational child abuse, aimed at waking up readers from all walks of life.
~C.S. Holmes for IndieReader