Childhood's Thief: One Woman's Journey of Healing from Sexual Abuse

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9780553375466: Childhood's Thief: One Woman's Journey of Healing from Sexual Abuse
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Based on the writings of one victim, an attractive, successful woman with severe depression and no childhood memories, this firsthand glimpse at the healing process follows her restored memories of physical and mental abuse, prostitution, and murder

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From the Publisher:

"Childhood's Thief is the story of two remarkable women: attractive, middle-aged JoAnn, who is suffering from depression and has no memory of her childhood, and Rose Mary Evans, the therapist who treats her. As trust builds between them, JoAnn begins to share with Evans notebooks full of free-associative writing she has been keeping in an effort to regain her lost memory. With Evans's encouragement and guidance, JoAnn pursues every vague shred of recollection to its origin, ultimately revealing a story of abuse so vile that it is a miracle she has survived at all, much less made a success of her life. Bit by bit, JoAnn remembers her poverty-stricken childhood in the Deep South, her uncaring teenage mother and her abusive grandfather, who prostituted JoAnn to his friends even before she started first grade. She also recalls the kindness of a neighboring old black couple -- "Honey " and "the Man" -- who gave her the only love she ever experienced as a child, saving both her life and her sanity. Readers will be compelled by JoAnn's vivid writing and fascinated by the psychological insights Evans provides in alternating chapters. The therapeutic relationship enriches both women, and ten years after their initial encounter they travel together to JoAnn's hometown to lay her ghosts to rest and complete her courageous journey of healing.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Social worker Evans' gives a compelling account of a client's recovery of a childhood laced with physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. When 47-year-old JoAnn first seeks therapy, she is suffering from a debilitating depression. In the course of analysis, she relives a childhood so devastating that she had no recourse but to completely blot it out. More than just an unwanted burden born to an unwed teenage mother, JoAnn was her mother's living curse. About her father, she was told: ``Your Father? You never had no Father! He left before you were ever borned. He never wanted you, stupid. I was the one stuck with you and NOT HIM!'' JoAnn's grandfather forced her to indulge his sexual appetites and those of his ``friends.'' As JoAnn grew older, she was expected to pay her way with her flesh. She survived by detaching her feelings ``from the mistreatment her body had to endure.'' As JoAnn begins to relive her submerged memories, she experiences a wide range of physical symptoms, even feeling kicks from her grandfather. The reader follows JoAnn's slow emergence from her depression. By the end of the book she is forging a new life for herself, with energy left over to crusade for abortion counseling and against sexual abuse. While we do get a strong sense of JoAnn's bitter childhood, the reader is told about a divorce without any sense of what her marriage was like. There are difficulties with her younger son, but no clues about her other children or her capabilities as a mother. And while the author intersperses JoAnn's first-person narrative with her own comments and insights, we lack a sense of the author (who informs her client and readers that she is gay). The book has an air of tabloid TV, but the human drama here remains powerful. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780025366107: CHILDHOOD'S THIEF: ONE WOMAN'S JOURNEY OF HEALING FROM CHILD ABUSE

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ISBN 10:  0025366106 ISBN 13:  9780025366107
Publisher: Scribner, 1994
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