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Tuesday, 31 July 2012
BELIEVE LIKE A CHILD BY PAIGE DEARTH
Formats Available: Paperback, Kindle
BLURB from Goodreads
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 received a kindle copy of this book directly from the author Paige Dearth.
To me the cover is representing Alessa as a young child, with the hand of her Uncle Danny on her shoulder. It is a hard hitting type of cover how down trodden and neglected the child looks with the large grubby male hand on her, but the whole book is hard hitting. It pulls no punches and tells things as they are in the book. The book has inspirational pieces yet is also twisted, violent, abusive and tragic. Don't expect some story with a happy ending, this book is no fairy tale. The book in places is quite disturbing, you certainly think about it a lot when you are reading and long after you have finished reading it too.
So we know all about Alessa and how she suffers physical, sexual, verbal and mental abuse from her Uncle Danny. "Things" have been happening for years and been either "unnoticed" or "over looked" by the rest of the family. Caterina, Alessa's mother is only interested in the money "Uncle Danny" contributes to the family, so chooses to ignore Alessa's pleas.
The book also covers Alessa's emotions and devastation at the loss of her one and only childhood friend Rhonda, when a jealous woman whom Rhonda's mum has been having an affair with accidentally shoots Rhonda.
Things at home come to a climax when Alessa's parents go away for the weekend leaving her alone with Uncle Danny who has decided to have a party and Alessa is to be the hostess and serve his and his friends every need or desire. Alessa panics and with help from Zoe (Rhonda's mum) she runs away. Trouble and leering horrible men seem to always find Alessa. she makes a new friend with a brother who runs the local gang. Harlin (the brother) ends up exploiting Alessa in the worst possible way. One night he puts her on the street and with the help of Harlin's sister Alessa run's away yet again. It seems the more Alessa tries the more hardships she has to go through. Alessa seems to get her life turned around at one point and seems happy. She enjoys helping others who are in the position she once was......so you will think that is the happy ending? ......but no fate throws yet another bomb at Alessa's life.....and....
You really should read this book. I have read about the author and after reading the book I have to admit I do wonder how much is based on her own story and what is artistic licence. Its a very sad tale but one that rings so true it rips your heart right out of you at certain points. It makes you want to scream at some of the characters and shake some sense into them! There is bad language in this book, and talk of street gangs and associated professions and crimes, so *WARNING* It is really suitable only for adults to read. This is a sad tragic story, though it also features brief happiness, and bravery and courage too.
So did I enjoy the book? I feel "enjoy" is the wrong word, I will say I feel educated and humbled by the book. So many people could have changed Alessa's life at the beginning but chose to ignore her. Would I recommend it? Yes as I said it's an education of life on the streets and of child abuse and how families choose not to see where and when it is happening.
I just want to say Thank-you to Paige for sending me this book to read.
Available at Amazon.co.uk