(ed. Our intrepid Brit book reviewer has been busy, sending me a couple of book reviews for the site this week. This is the first, I’ll post the second within the next few days. As always, if you’re interested in submitting a similar review, drop me a line.)
Andrew Crofts has helped another Brit male abuse survivor, Joe Peters, complete his first memoir, Cry Silent Tears. Itâ€™s taking nothing away from the power of Petersâ€™ story that Crofts has turned Petersâ€™ words into another book which can be speed-read in three hours, or taken section by section â€“ I read its 300 hardback pages overnight and itâ€™s as page-turning a read as Tears Before Bedtime.
Petersâ€™ history starts with the background to his family which he believes points to much of his childhood thereafter. We read of the loss of his father as witnessed at five years old which would be a heavy trauma for any child, in fact he was struck dumb and eventually needed speech therapy to begin talking again. However, the bereavement marked the resumption of physical violence from his mother throughout his childhood and also the start of a catalogue of sexual abuse from his de facto stepfather, two siblings and a succession of other pedophiles, some known to the family and others, at the height of his abuse, in an organized child porn ring.
When told about a child condemned to living in a cellar for being perceived as different (or the runt), modern people of all ages will have only read about that as the start of a Harry Potter book or classic fairytale. For Joe Peters it was the very bleak, unrelenting, nightmarish, real thing. His only elder sibling at the time who wasnâ€™t abusive, still let Joe down in other ways when he needed him most. Further losses and abandonment of early relationships happen through the transfer of schools and the 1980s UK social care system. Childline helped him though only in a roundabout way, the care did not continue consistently or with any insight into the needs of a teenage male abuse victim.
What you read about Petersâ€™ mother and her treatment of the abuse as a business stays in the mind for a long time, even despite the fact that Joe Peters survived and thrived to forge a happy adult life. The book ends abruptly in adolescence, pointing the way to the second book which he is currently writing. Since itâ€™s important to know the steps taken to recover, Iâ€™ll definitely purchase the follow-up when it arrives.
( OR http://www.freewebs.com/crysilenttears/ as a direct link if it doesnâ€™t auto forward. The site links to a free sample of the introduction to the book on the publisherâ€™s website.)