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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Running From Hippos: A Memoir of Trauma and Depression by BD Timmins is a moving, powerful autobiography about surviving the darkness of trauma. Starting with the early days, the author takes you back to the beginning of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, onward through the turmoil of depression, self-harm, and suicidal ideations, then into the light of triumph. It wasn't an easy journey, but if you've been there or know someone who has, you will relate on a personal level. If you feel alone in your suffering or feel that the ghosts of abuse are still haunting you as an adult, you will get empathy and advice that will help you and touch you. Timmins covers her experiences in a comprehensive, relatable way, from how it was at home and school and how it affected her as she grew into adulthood.
Not everyone has been abused so it can be hard for those people to understand what it's like for the author and others that have experienced it, but this book opens a window into the real, day-to-day life of one living in an abusive situation. Timmins explains how she called on her "stronger self" to endure a lot of her pain in great detail. But she did learn to confront her oppressors and brought herself to a place of healing and life. Though her story is explicit, there is a place for it in a book about abuse. But along with the powerful emotions and tears come a few humorous parts. The chapter titles give a small hint at what you can expect in each one, and though the subject matter is tough, the style is easy.
No doubt this book was cathartic for the author, but it can be for readers too. You will come to abhor the abuse and admire the author for her resilience as you read. As a former social worker, I recognize it must have been extremely hard for the author to relive those moments. Some may assume that victims are rendered weak, but it takes a strong person to survive abuse and rise above it. This would make a great book club selection and would benefit those in support groups. If you're looking for a good resource on trauma, be sure to read Running From Hippos by BD Timmins.