Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"A Brother's Journey: Surviving a Childhood of Abuse"

Written by Richard B. Pelzer, this is a true story account of (as you may already have guessed), his childhood. I'm into everything that has to do with children and childhood so I guess that was what made me buy this book. Wasn't sure if it would be a upsetting book but I read it anyways. And you know what? I think I topped my record of finishing off a novel under 4 hours! The last time I finished one in such a short time was when I read Catherine Lim's "The Bondmaid" back in 2001.

What do I think of it? I thought it was an honest account of what had happened. I cannot imagine myself remembering all the details of what happened to me when I was only 5 years old but Richard remembers, and I can understand why. When you experience abuse in that manner, you will most definitely remember everything that you felt, if not have done. Emotions and feelings are the strongest matters that keeps us alive, sane or insane. To remember events down to the very words spoken by all the main characters, one can only imagine the journey that he has gone through, one that he wouldn't want anyone else to live through. Warning: some descriptions are not for the faint-hearted. They initially brought disgust and hate in me but then I also had tears in my eyes. Kudos to Richard and all others who have published their experiences for educating the world and bringing such horrors out into the daylight.

Reading "A Brother's Journey" made me appreciate my life even more. Although I realize that my childhood was enjoyable and free, I can't help but feel that I could have taken everything for granted. Not realizing that someone undergoing abuse in their home could well have been my next-door-neighbour or my volleyball teammate, I might have even taken life for granted until I came over to Sydney. In fact, I think I sometimes still do take everything I have for granted. See how powerful reading books is? It makes you think of so many things!

Writing this book was Richard's redemption - he has managed to put everything down and learn from the events in his life which he deem unfortunate. He has become stronger and he will be able to teach and love people in a more 'real' way. To me, that is a significant trade in life - to let go, move on and become stronger, something that I still kinda suck at.

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