My Prison Without Bars

The Journey of a Damaged Woman to Someplace Normal

Fiction - Realistic
430 Pages
Reviewed on 09/21/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Taylor Evan Fulks is a practicing Registered Nurse First Assistant, specializing in open heart surgery to pay the bills. She's also a wife, a mother of two very challenging (in a good way) teenage daughters, and an ardent

    Book Review

Reviewed by Fiona Ingram for Readers' Favorite

The author describes this book as a novel based on a true story. It is not a nice story. This is the story of Taylor, a victim of sexual child abuse by her brutal stepfather from the age of three, a vicious and continuing horror that lasted well into her teens. Later, as an adult, she discovered that her emotionally distant mother knew about it all the time. From a tender age, Taylor was exposed to betrayal on all levels: emotional, spiritual and physical. This tragedy scarred her life, creating a sense of degradation within her, and blighted her perceptions on relationships for many years.

Child abuse is a dark, dirty secret in countless homes. Some grim statistics tell us just how prevalent it is. More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way. Approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse. Presence of a stepfather in the home doubles the risk of sexual victimization for girls. It is hard to imagine anyone enduring and surviving such unspeakable cruelty: a childhood stripped of trust and innocence, and all beliefs shattered. This book is a harrowing tale of relentless, violent sexual abuse that made it difficult for Taylor to rebuild a life destroyed before it really began, and to embrace relationships. Drawn to abusive men, she saw all men as sexual predators, and her inability to relate properly meant the inability to form a stable loving relationship. Years of stalled relationships finally resulted in a marriage that was dogged by her husband’s destructive mother. Matrimony and motherhood brought some joy into Taylor’s life, but not enough to heal the hideous internal scars on her psyche. Only a dreadful climactic event finally broke the shield of fear she had created, and forced her to stand up, fight back, and win! This event was unwittingly the way for Taylor to find redemption, self-love, and the feelings of self worth that make us human.

Taylor Evan Fulks is a talented wordsmith, able to conjure up the hideous experiences with remarkable clarity and emotion. She writes from the heart, and the agony of real experience lends authenticity to her riveting descriptions, fleshing out the sheer brutality of each moment of terror and pain for readers. It is one thing to read a fiction story about horrible events but it is another to read what a human being has endured and survived. This is not for the faint-hearted, but I would recommend this book for anyone who has ever suffered similar abuse. The story ends with light, hope, and the will to survive — part of the human condition.

Alice DiNizo

When the narrator, Taylor, was a little preschool girl, she was repeatedly molested and then raped for years by her step-father, Dean, while her mother, busy studying for her advanced college degrees, was often in a nearby room but did nothing to help Taylor. And for years after that, Taylor carries the horrendous scars of being sexually abused, lashing back at teenage boys her age who wanted to draw closer. She finally allows herself to be attracted to fellow high school student, Kevin, only to find that he is involved with another girl. Attacked and beaten while on college break in Daytona Beach, Taylor fights back physically, something she wishes she had done with her abusive stepfather. She gets her life together, loves her work as an operating room nurse specializing in open-heart surgeries but marriage to Tony Faulkner, who makes her feel normal, is fraught with problems. Will Taylor ever get to a point in her life where she feels accepted and loved?

Author Taylor Evan Fulks has written a detailed and often disturbing story of a young girl's survival into adulthood after suffering sexual abuse for years as a young child. Main character Taylor is an authentic victim as she lashes out at her mother for not being there, at her teenage loves for failing her, and at her husband for the family he brings with him to their fragile marriage. Taylor suffers horrific attacks, even to the story's end. The reader learns that sexual predators often speak too fondly of their preys and succeed in destroying the lives of those around them, as the son of Taylor's stepfather attacks her at the story's end. "My Prison without Bars" is well-written and gives a good look into the lives of those who have been sexually attacked and marred in some way both physically and mentally for life.

Anne Boling

"My Prison Without Bars: The Journey of a Damaged Woman to Someplace Normal" by Taylor Evan Fulks is based on the life of the author. This book opens with Taylor lying on a bed with broken ribs, gasping for breath, a broken nose, and a possible concussion. The year was 1981 and she was on Spring Break when she was assaulted. At this point the narrative shifts back through time to West Texas in the 1950s. Taylor’s biological father, Gerald, was violent. She was practically a baby when her mother divorced him and married a former boyfriend, Gene. Gerald signed a document giving up all rights to Taylor and Gene adopted her. When she was three he began his little “games” with her. The games led to fondling her which led to rape. After years of torture, abuse, threats and manipulation Taylor kicked him where it hurt and told her mother about the abuse she suffered for years at his hands. Her mother left him for a while and then allowed him back in their life. Her mother made excuses for Gene’s behavior and placed all the blame on Taylor. Eventually she was placed in foster care but even there she was not safe. She married Tony and had two children when she discovered his unfaithfulness. It seemed that all her life she had a sign on her back that said 'abuse me.' While at a conference she was once again attacked and nearly killed. It was at this point in her life that she realized she could only be a victim if she allowed herself to be the victim. She realized that no one was going to come to her rescue. It was time to stop thinking her mother would protect her. It was time to fight for her own life.

I would like to deal with the technical part of this review first. This book is well written. The plot is well done and well developed. Now to the content: A good writer can describe something and allow the reader to picture it in their mind's eye. A great writer can describe something and allow the reader to experience it. Fulks is a great writer. I felt as if I was Taylor. I was horrified by the pain and degradation she was forced to endure. I could smell the mixture of blood and semen. I could hear her scream. I am appalled at what she suffered. I wanted to shake her mother. I hope that writing this book brought a tiny bit of closure to Taylor’s horror. Perhaps it helped the nightmares to stop. I believe Taylor put pen to paper in the hope that her story would help someone else. I admire Taylor Evan Fulks for baring her soul so that others might be saved.