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Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite
Jeanne McElvaney begins her book "Spirit Unbroken: Abby’s Story" by defining three types of memories: Ordinary Memories - retention of experiences; Trauma Memories - memories themselves cannot be recalled at will; and Dissociation Memories - a biological response that separates awareness from consciousness. Abby was a mere toddler when her father would rub her along his penis. She was approximately 3 years old when he jerked her up and hung her body upside down from the rafters in the basement and spun her around and around and then pressed his fingers in her anus. At four he pressed a pillow over her mouth to keep her quiet while he pressed his fingers into her orifices. She found a secret room inside of her where she could hide when she was in danger. Abby faced the ineffaceable. I have absolutely no sympathy for a man or woman who abuses a child in any manner. Abby’s mother pretended to know nothing while her father became more and more out of control. He was violent, manipulative and controlling. I admire Dennis for his stance. I admire Abby for standing up to her parents. I am glad Abby has Dennis and Katie has Abby.
Jeanne McElvaney is a talented writer. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book. I will not say that I was entertained or that I enjoyed this book for the content bothered me. But I am glad I read it. McElvaney writes in a frank, no-holds-barred manner. This book is a work of fiction but reads like non-fiction. I hope the telling of this story helped the victims in some small way. McElvaney breathed life into the characters of this book. I continue wanting to rant and rave over what Jerry and Betty did to their daughters. However, I will just conclude by saying that McElvaney is a storyteller extraordinaire!