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Empty Chairs: Much more than a story about child abuse (Standing Tall and Fighting Back. Book 1) (English Edition) Kindle版
- ASIN : B01EXVBG1I
- 出版社 : Suzanne Burke; 第3版 (2016/5/31)
- 発売日 : 2016/5/31
- 言語 : 英語
- ファイルサイズ : 476 KB
- Text-to-Speech（テキスト読み上げ機能） : 有効
- X-Ray : 有効
- Word Wise : 有効
- 本の長さ : 228ページ
- Amazon 売れ筋ランキング: - 2,863,400位洋書 (の売れ筋ランキングを見る洋書)
Empty Chairs is an autobiographical story, written under a pseudonym, which reveals how a 3 year old was subjected to gross sexual abuses at the behest of her own mother, and forced to continue servicing visitors to the house until eventually, at the age of eleven, she ran away. Thereafter, life on the streets proved equally stressful, threatening to confirm all the negatives she felt about how people behave.
Perhaps that crude synopsis has made you join the ‘I’m not sure I could read this – it’s too horrible’ camp. If it has, it’s deprived you of an astonishing experience. Because this is a page turner and, bizarrely, a sort of celebration. I know that’s a cliché beloved of Amazon reviewers, but here it’s a fact. The story is relentlessly riveting. There’s tension, hidden (and not so hidden) forces at work, powerful characters, and observations of social interaction that are penetrating insights into what lurks behind the facades of sunny, happy-go-lucky Australia, where families picnic in the sun and glory in sights such as the fabulous Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The abuse inflicted on the infant Sassy-Girl (let’s use the street name she earned) was not at the hands of social low-lifes, but ‘respectable’ middle class professionals. When she eventually rebels and runs away, she has to find places to sleep, clothes to wear, ways to get food, and simultaneously avoid the pressure from pimps to recruit her into their stable. She experiences some kindnesses but her whole life seems to have been a denial that trust is possible between humans. When groups of girls at the zoo mock her for the clothes she’s wearing, she asks ‘why do people do those things? What was it that gave those girls the right to make fun of something they didn't understand?’ adding that ‘It would take a very long time to discover how common that trait was in humans’.
It would have been so easy (in theory) to succumb to prostitution to earn her keep, but the abuse she suffered makes her determined never to allow her body to be used again. As she says ‘I knew my soul would die anyway if I made a conscious decision to sell the child's body in which it was housed. I wasn’t being brave, or strong. I simply knew that all of me would survive – or another me would. What point would there be living without my soul and my spirit?’
An author’s note at the beginning speaks of the compulsion Danson had to write this, the promise she’d made to someone to do so, but she also admits that it’s taken longer to get round to it than she thought it would. And that’s part of the spell this narrative weaves. We’re getting the intimate day to day experiences of a 12 year old – the encounters, the threats, the violence, the alienation – but they’re all being recounted by the mature woman she survived to become.
And the narrator herself is aware of this, of course. This is a woman who knows how to write, how to use language, sometimes simply, always directly, to engage the reader, a woman who has come to know that friendships and trust are possible, and yet who’s re-entering the mind of her pre-teen self and reliving those years, with their innocence and ignorance. Because Sassy-Girl is uneducated (in formal terms). She thinks everyone speaks Australian (except Americans, whom she’s seen on TV and who speak American). ‘If someone had told me we all spoke English,’ she says, ‘I would have been even more confused.
At times, the mature narrator lends her voice to the girl. When she makes her way to the War Memorial, for example, she says she ‘spent the rest of the night in the company of the spirits of people who had died in a nightmare as well’. And there’s an awareness of the power of simplicity in sentences such as ‘I wanted to laugh and mean it’, or ‘It reminded me of the way I cried, back when I still could.’
But these aren’t intended to be criticisms. The moment Sassy-Girl suspects she’s feeling self-pity, she forces herself out of it. She’s a survivor and, despite all the torments she’s endured in these early years, what remains is an affirmation of her spirit, a confidence that, despite the enormous forces ranged against her, she won’t be a loser. It’s a compelling read, a reminder of the deepest evils of which we’re capable, but also a celebration of our ability to overcome.
From the beginning to the end this book will open your eyes to a different world, the life of survival from pure evilness!
A child, never knowing anything different deprived, violated and beaten.
Sassy how you were still having to survive to the age of just 12 years is incredible and beyond belief.
A child who never had love just hurt in so many different ways but a total inspiration with her determination to survive.
I am just going to buy your next book
I also grew up in Australia and know the areas she speaks of very well. I am older than she is and it horrifies me that I may well have passed her when I worked at Circular Quay. Even now, people just don't 'see' the street people and certainly not as fellow human beings. I hope this book makes me more compassionate towards any I see now.
This book will long be remembered and I hope it makes enough impact for people to report screaming children, especially in 'posh' areas, and not turn a deaf ear or blind eye.
I realise the author is largely self-educated and she has done a good job with her book. It would be unfair to take off stars for any mistakes, I admire her courage and the way she has pulled herself up.
My only disappointment is that the book ended so suddenly. I'll look to see if there is a sequel as I'd like to know what happened to get her off the streets and turned her into the person she is today.
For Jamie to come along was a blessing. Not as a love affair, a true friend and keeper. Reading through this its hard to believe and understand and even reason how young she was going through this. I loved the reading of it, but hated the picture it set in my mind.
This is NOT a victim, this truly is a story, a REAL story of just facts, said how it was and how things happened to her, no sorry for myself, [although she had every reason to be] just pure and simple facts of how she lived, how she went through so many trials, tribulations and how she survived on the street, a truly remarkable woman. Like I said, its hard to imagine this little girl going through so many things, but I know, it happens, sadly, it happens, and each and everyone of us should act on things that are not seemingly to be right. Kids need our protection.
Your a powerful woman Stacy
In every way, it is a classic.
Not only does Stacey Danson enlighten the reader - for who could have imagined that a mother could possibly subject her daughter to such degrading acts of abuse - but she demonstrates the most outstanding qualities of bravery, fortitude and intelligence that shine through the life of depravity she was forced into.
It is humbling to realise that out of the ashes of this unbelievably cruel childhood, has risen a woman whose fine qualities make her a role model for us all.
The raw honesty of Dansons's story is equally matched by the sheer brilliance of the writing. There is not a single word, not a single line that jars. The characters are so real that they almost walk out of the covers of the book. As for the narrator herself - the indomitable Sassy Girl - you cannot help loving her and crying each time she overcomes yet another indignity. Nor can you help applauding her survival.
Read this book. It is one in a million.