Today's review is on Believe Like a Child by Paige Dearth
Believe Like a Child has got to be the most amazing book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It's not only inspirational, it's also heart wrenching, educational, and thought provoking. This book is NOT intended for children, as it tells the tale of sexual and emotional abuse of a child and her continued journey of victimization. Though not written like a erotic novel, the author does not hold anything back, and it is graphic. I guarantee, that once you finish this book, its message of courage and perseverance will stay with you for a very long time.
Alessa; who's name was chosen by her grandmother and means "Defender of Mankind", is the youngest of four children in her family. Growing up with a father who is emotionally absent and a mother who seems to enjoy playing the victim, Alessa's only comfort is her loving grandmother. So when grandma passes away; when Alessa is six, she is devastated. While everyone else in her family paid her no attention, her grandmother adored her and made her feel special and loved. Thankfully she had her Uncle Danny.
Uncle Danny flawlessly took the place of grandma in Alessa's world. He would spend more time with Alessa than with her other siblings, and he would spoil her with gifts, love, and affection. But Uncle Danny had ulterior motives, and a dark secret. Uncle Danny was a pedophile.
At the age of seven, Alessa is surprised to find Uncle Danny in her bedroom. She couldn't understand why the uncle that she thought was her "protector" could rape her. And as the rape continued to occur, Alessa became withdrawn, finding an escape within her mind somehow. There was no one she could turn to, even after she told her mother of the abuse.
Finally fleeing her home at the age of 17; with the help of her BFF's mother, Alessa finds herself living in a really bad neighborhood where she is attacked by four guys. Thankfully she is "saved" by her new BFF's brother. But even this savior isn't what he seems.
Thrown into the world of sex, Alessa becomes an exotic dancer and prostitute before fleeing once again from a horrible life. She ultimately ends up living in shelters or on the street. But Alessa never looses hope that there is a better life out there waiting for her. She just has to "do what she has to do" to survive, and to get there.
But how could someone write a story like this and make it so profoundly life like? By being a victim themselves.
At the age of seven, Paige Dearth was raped by her uncle. And like many teens that suffer from sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse, she married young. (Perhaps to the first man that showed her love and made her feel safe.) She later became pregnant and found out that her husband was a heroin addict. She then divorced and moved back to her home town, but the feelings of isolation and fear remained. Paige defied the odds however, and is now happily married to her second husband. Though she does have an MBA, Paige didn't feel fulfilled until writing this first novel at the age of 46. But what a novel it is. As far as Debut books are concerned, this has got to be one of the very best. Though there were some inconsistencies and grammatical errors, the writing was exceptional.
Believe Like a Child is a story so compelling, you'll want to reach out and be that one person that provides that one random act of kindness that could change a life. And, you'll want to tell everyone you meet to read this book so that it can change their lives too. A random act of kindness in and of itself.
5 of 5 stars
Available at Amazon