I Don’t Trust You

I Wish I Had My Own Family (Twisting, Turning, Healing Journeys Book 1)

Young Adult - Coming of Age
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 04/29/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite

Ken Saik's I Don’t Trust You highlights the lasting fears from childhood that we take with us as we are growing up. Jill’s father drinks to excess and becomes violent when drunk. He physically and verbally abuses his two daughters and his wife. The older child, Kathy, has already left home, leaving Jill to face her father’s rages. Her mother agrees with his accusations against Jill in an attempt to calm him down, but when Jill hears this, her self-esteem sinks even lower. Aged seventeen, she decides to run away from home. She knows she won’t finish high school, and has no money and nowhere to run. After finding a refuge, once again she is betrayed by friends whom she thought she could trust, and she escapes again. But someone comes looking for her and she continues to live in fear. Even after many years, she bears the scars of her early years, too scared to tell anyone what has caused her often inexplicable behavior.

I Don’t Trust You by Ken Saik resonated with me as I first ran away from home at the age of three, and that was only my first attempt. I bonded with Jill and felt the same fear and desperation, and yet she dared to set out on an unknown journey. I admired her bravery and her determination. As life improved for her, she still could not accept that she was a worthwhile person. I wanted her to talk about her past, tell someone, anyone, but her pride and her desire for privacy stopped her. I thought her husband Joseph was amazing, the partner every girl would long for. His patience, his love, and his pure goodness shone through whenever he appeared. Mary, Ed, Thomas, and Rebecca; I loved every character, except for those women in the church congregation. I hated how they put so much pressure on Jill and understood why she could not connect easily with them. I liked this book and was immersed in what I imagine to be small-town rural America, and the descriptions brought it all to life. There were several lyrical sentences that I liked such as “... unwelcomed infant leafy green garden guests might have lived a few days longer,” and “People litter the sand like T-shirts scattered on a department store’s discount counter.” I admire a book where there are no catastrophic events, car chases, murders, and so on, yet it takes the reader into the scenes as the story unfolds. This one certainly kept me turning the pages.

Romuald Dzemo

I Don’t Trust You: I Wish I Had My Own Family by Ken Saik is a poignant and gripping coming-of-age story about making choices, healing, and finding meaningful connections. The story follows Jill, a courageous teenager who escapes from her abusive father just weeks before her graduation, determined to break free from the cycle of violence and abuse and create a loving family of her own. But does she have what it takes to succeed, or will the scars from her past stand in her way? Through skillful storytelling and authentic character development, Saik immerses readers in Jill's journey of self-discovery and empowerment as she deals with rebuilding her life and finding a place where she belongs.

This novel is psychologically grounded, and I enjoyed the way Ken Saik examines Jill's psyche. The emotional turmoil and psychological scars from her traumatic childhood have a strong hold on her. The layered narrative explores genuine connection, healing from past trauma, the quest for love, and resilience. The author’s take on the importance of supportive relationships is stellar. From Jill's tender bond with her grandmother to her newfound friendships with Linda and Karen, Saik explores the transformative power of love, compassion, and community in healing deep emotional wounds and finding strength in vulnerability. The brisk pacing and the evocative prose meld with a tender voice to offer an emotionally rich reading experience. I Don’t Trust You is a beautiful coming-of-age story with nuanced characters and vital lessons on healing the emotional scars from childhood and shaping one’s destiny.

Jamie Michele

In I Don’t Trust You: I Wish I Had My Own Family by Ken Saik, teenager Jill escapes a volatile home life, seeking refuge with friends and finding temporary shelter with Gramma Maxwell. It is not easy, but she perseveres with support from friends, Gramma Maxwell, and assistance from Mrs. Robertson, who connects with her estranged grandmother, Josey, in Brampton. Jill begins a journey of self-discovery and academic success as she grows up and matures. However, unresolved conflicts force yet another relocation to Camrose, which she endeavors to do with the help of Mary Prezchuck and her family. Jill experiences the blossoming of romance that is constantly dogged by her past trauma and insecurities, which she genuinely attempts to overcome and allow herself to be loved, experience intimacy, and accept that what has happened in the past should not define her future.

When I picked I Don’t Trust You by Ken Saik, I did not understand the subtitle of I Wish I Had My Own Family based on the preconceived notion that this was the story of a teen. I soon understood that this was not about Jill as a teenager, but the lifelong aftermath of what her childhood experiences meant. Yes, Jill's abuse as a youth is explored. Still, it is her womanhood that connects authentic and relatable human experiences, such as love, guilt, fear, and vulnerability, to the reader. Saik's use of symbolism, both stated and implied, is really beautiful. We are given a juxtaposition of the happiest of life's moments, Christmas and wedding anniversaries, with the deeply embedded problems that Jill and Joseph have in their marriage. Joseph is mostly patient, and Jill is such a thoroughly fleshed-out character showing why she is the way she is. The theme of the novel is exactly that: there is a 'why' Jill is faced with her hurdles, but it is not 'who' Jill is. This is a very tough story to read but a worthy one, and I look forward to seeing where it goes next.

Doreen Chombu

I Don't Trust You by Ken Saik is a moving story about Jill, a high school student, who leaves her troubled past behind to start a new life in Camrose. Her abusive, alcoholic father and a friend who betrayed her were the driving forces behind her decision. In Camrose, she finds a job, new friends, love, and a family. Everything seems perfect, but Jill is still haunted by her past. Negative thoughts constantly plague her mind, making her feel like an imposter in her own home, church, and town. Motherhood and being a spouse make things even more challenging as she keeps secrets and wonders if she truly loves her caring and patient husband, Joseph, or if she is merely pretending. Will Jill ever find peace and healing, or will she continue to unravel until it is too late?

The first book in the Twisting, Turning, Healing Journeys series by Ken Saik, I Don't Trust You is a captivating story about trust, healing, and overcoming trauma. Jill's struggles with self-blame, insecurity, and doubt are experiences that many people can relate to. Her journey to find healing and discover her true self reflects the common desire for growth and self-discovery that resonates with readers on a personal level. Through her story, readers can see themselves and find hope in their own journeys of acceptance and improvement. I am happy that Jill found people who were loving and willing to help her heal, even though they did not know what was happening to her. The book does cover sensitive and triggering topics such as alcoholism and physical, mental, and emotional abuse, but it is still worth reading because of its inspiring message. I enjoyed this story and recommend it to anyone who loves books about overcoming adversity.

K.C. Finn

I Don’t Trust You: I Wish I Had My Own Family is a work of fiction in the coming-of-age, family drama, and slice-of-life genres and is the opening novel of the Twisting, Turning, Healing Journeys series. It is intended for the young adult reading audience. Penned by author Ken Saik, the plot follows a teenage girl who flees her abusive father weeks before graduation, determined to break the cycle of violence and build a loving family of her own, free from alcoholism and abuse. However, haunted by psychological scars and a deep-seated distrust of men, she struggles to overcome her trauma and open up to others, even as she seeks help to navigate her healing journey.

Author Ken Saik has crafted an emotional rollercoaster that delves into the complexities of trauma and resilience with vivid descriptions and palpable emotion on every page. I was impressed by the smooth and confident narration that conveyed the protagonist's inner turmoil and determination to escape her abusive past, creating a compelling through-line of tension and survival that tugs at the heartstrings. The themes of trust and healing are explored with sensitivity and depth, drawing readers into the protagonist's struggle to forge meaningful connections. The dialogue exchanges that she has with other characters emphasize this journey of growth as she tries to learn to open up. As the story unfolded, I found myself rooting for her more and more with the development of her inner strength, empathizing with her pain, and admiring her courage in the face of adversity. Overall, I Don’t Trust You is a poignant and thought-provoking read that highlights the importance of compassion and the power of human connection in overcoming trauma, and I would certainly recommend it to both YA and adult readers alike.