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Throughout her childhood and adolescence, the anonymous author of The Incest Diary was raped by her father. Beneath a veneer of normal family life, she grew up in and around this all-encompassing secret. Her sexual relationship with her father lasted, off and on, into her 20s. It formed her world, and it formed her deepest fears and desires. Even after she broke away - even as she grew into an independent and adventurous young woman - she continued to seek out new versions of the violence, submission, and secrecy she had struggled to leave behind.
In this graphic and harrowing memoir, the author revisits her early traumas and their aftermath - not from a clinical distance but from deep within - to explore the ways in which her father's abuse shaped her and still does. As a matter of psychic survival, she became both a sexual object and a detached observer, a dutiful daughter and the protector of a dirty secret. And then, years later, she made herself write it down.
With lyric concision, in vignettes of almost unbearable intensity, this author tells a story that is shocking but that will ring true to many other survivors of abuse. It has never been faced so directly in an audiobook.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Erin - Audible on 07-27-17
If I Can Bear Witness, I Must
There will be no trigger warning here, for a book called "The Incest Diary" hardly needs one. That said, I speak of this book from the perspective of one who can afford to bear witness to this woman's story. Not all of us will be able to, and that is as far as I probably need to go in the direction of a trigger warning.
When Kathryn Harrison's "The Kiss" came out, about the affair she began with her priest father when she was 20, there was much pearl-clutching over the state of the memoir: had we gone too far? (That book pales in comparison to this one, as far as transgression goes.) But Harrison and other memoirists of this skill level know there is no such thing as too far -- there is only how close you bring your reader to your experience, and how to create distance, and when exactly to do either.
I imagine a good number of people will detest this book, the relentless repetition of the violent acts performed on the author from the age of 3 on, how she coolly reports each atrocity using incendiary, revolting words. But they'd be missing the point, what is being asked of them: how else do you bring a stranger into an experience this vile, this unbearable? Or do they not deserve witnesses?
The language in this book holds your face to the horror show, will not let you look away -- and should we, if she could not?
And by holding us there, as witnesses to every shocking and unbearable thing, the book is an effective condemnation of the rapist, the pedophile. The neglectful parent. The neglectful teacher, neighbor, grandparent. It is a condemnation of victim-blaming, of complicity. It is not a happy story, not a story about overcoming, if that's what you require from memoir; but I'd argue that it is a triumph. Because she told her story at last, and masterfully, giving her control and ownership. Who am I to turn away?
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Sidney H. Goodman on 08-22-17
Offensive and depressing
I appreciate anonymous needing to get all of this off her chest, and it is obvious that she has been damaged greatly. But this book to me seemed like pornography that serves nopurpose or value to the reader. I could not recommend this book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful