Stunned Silence

I had this friend growing up who used to talk in sayings:

“All I know is that I know nothing.”

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

“A word to the wise ain’t necessary — it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.”

At the time I thought it was ridiculous.  His way of showing off or making himself seem much more worldly than he actually was.

It wasn’t until today that I realized sometime cliched sayings are the most appropriate form of communication.

Yesterday I finally had the distinct pleasure (and yes…I do mean pleasure) of finishing a book I have been reading for more than a week.  Normally a book will take me a day, a day and a half at the most, but “Believe Like a Child” by Paige Dearth was different. It was was so raw, so disturbing that I found myself having to put it down for extended period of time just to be able to breath properly.

It short…reading this book was like:

“Stumbling on a train wreck and being unable to tear your eyes away.”

You don’t want to watch, but you have to. You don’t want to subject yourself to the harsh realities bound to be inside of the wreckage, but your curiosity is stronger than your will.

“Believe Like A Child” is the train wreck. Dirty and smoking. Filled with horrors unimaginable. Dark, depressing and utterly engrossing to it’s very last page.

“Alessa is just seven years old when her uncle rapes her for the first time. As the years pass, his sexual appetite becomes more voracious and his perversion more twisted, until the abuse has become almost a daily ritual, with the unspoken involvement of the girl’s mother.

At the age of sixteen, after the death of her only friend, Alessa finds herself at the mercy of her real-life monster, with no relief in sight. She flees her home to escape this hell, only to find herself descending into a more dangerous one. Alone and helpless in the streets of North Philadelphia, she encounters more human predators who want to take over her life and devour her. About to hit rock bottom, Alessa manages to break away from her new tormentors and finds refuge in a shelter for homeless and abused women.

Wherever she goes, however, trouble keeps seeking her out, until she meets three people who change the course of her life forever. Though Alessa’s bittersweet journey is perpetually fraught with challenges, she does, nevertheless, manage to find fleeting moments of joy along the way. But as she begins to settle down, a ghost from the past comes to haunt her again, threatening to destroy the very foundation of her small world and plunging her back into an abyss of despair, until she makes her final bid for escape.”

I am going to start off my breakdown with a disclaimer.

This book is NOT for the faint of heart.  It’s NOT for young audiences.  It’s NOT for mothers easily overcome by anxiety.  The situations presented in this novel are NOT easy to read about and will more than likely affect you either mentally or physically.  If you have a difficult time reading (in explicit detail) about molestation, rape, prostitution, gang violence or are easily offended by harsh language… DO NOT READ THIS NOVEL!

It’s been a while since I have read a book as mentally demanding as this one. Hard, yes. Sad, yes. Mentally exhausting? No.

The pure sadness that radiated from the pages of this novel could be bottled and sold.  The writing so shocking and intimate that even if it had been elementary; tied down by grammatical errors and sloppy structure; it would have gone by completely unnoticed.

AKA…the STORY did it’s job.  It made everything else insignificant.

In the interest of sounding someone professional I’ll tell you this.

We are sucked into the details of this story through Alessa’s eyes, and because of this minute detail we are privy to the darkest and harshest aspects of her life.  Nothing is left to the imagination. When she finds herself under the ties of her pedophile Uncle Danny, we are in the room with her.  The experience is spelled out. It’s not flowery or filled with passive imagery.  It is harsh, it is assaulting to the senses and it is real. The same could be said for the rest of the novel.

However, despite the abominable aspects of this story, there is a deeper meaning.  One of triumph and faith.  A glimmer of light that shines on the possibility of hope for ALL of the characters involved, not just Alessa.  It teaches a lesson.  That regardless of where you are now, you can always end up somewhere else. All you have to do is: Believe like a child. Believe in yourself.

Some stories you read and move on.  Some stories you take with you for the rest of your life.  Paige Dearth’s story is the latter.

A dark tale, with stunning characters and an emotional subject.  Not for everyone, but perfect for a few.

Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember:

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Einstein

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(4/5)

About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.

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