(ed note – this review was submitted by a reader.)
Memoirs of childhood sexual abuse from the male perspective tend to be rare. “The Comic Book Kid Lives: A Survivor’s Story”, a daring and surprisingly heartwarming new memoir by Ryan Castro-Miller breaks the mold in more ways than one. While the book covers some topics and situations that can be very difficult to read, Mr. Castro-Miller cleverly utilizes humor as a way to breach some of the most sensitive of topics.
The author never makes light of his abuse or abuse as a whole but he does use humor to highlight some of the bizarre, yet all too real characters that populate his world. From a quirky uncle who claims to build an antenna that can intercept Russian transmissions to a secret club of boys who play a fight club style game of capture the flag in a barn in rural California, the book effortlessly welcomes us into a strangely familiar world.
As an avid reader and a survivor myself, I can sympathize with the authors depiction of a youth spent absorbed in comic books as a means of escaping the monsters that walked around in broad daylight. What makes the monsters in these pages all the more terrifying is how real they were.
A sexually abusive step grandfather and a raging alcoholic father torment the author throughout his childhood. While the scenes of abuse are not too graphic, the author constructs an atmosphere heavy narrative that paints a very sinister and sometimes very frightening picture.
At a mere 300 pages, the author’s writing style allows readers a to effortlessly flow through the book, I do feel like it ends somewhat abruptly. I feel that the book as a whole could easily be more developed and expanded upon. Since this is a self published book, it tends to fall into some of the more amateurish pitfalls that works of this nature find themselves in. There are a few grammatical and spelling errors as well as a few strange formatting issues such as random blank pages.
Despite the technical issues, “The Comic Book Kid Lives: A Survivor’s story is a powerful and personal exploration of one man’s journey on the road to recovery. As odd as it sounds there are some flat out funny moments that make the story more human and relatable. The book is definitely one that personally helped me and I recommend it for any male survivor who may not know how to express the difficult feelings that arise. “The Comic Book Kid Lives: A Survivor’s Story” is available in both print and Kindle formats through Amazon.