Too Much Love Is Not Enough

A Memoir of Silence of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Non-Fiction - Memoir
288 Pages
Reviewed on 05/04/2018
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Author Biography

Dr. Rosenna Bakari is an author, motivational speaker, and advocate. Her newly released memoir marks her fourth book, each of which addresses women’s issue. The memoir stands out because of the bravery it took to lean into vulnerability so that other survivors can be heard. Her voice represents millions who have not found theirs yet.
Rosenna is “shifting the paradigm and changing the narrative” to empower survivors to live boldly and without shame. She is challenging the paradigm that subjugates and silences women. She sees herself as a role-model for women whose life experiences have been steeped in challenges of oppression, including race, gender, and sexual violence. She dedicates her life to helping them find and build resilience.

Rosenna Bakari earned her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Northern Colorado, an M.S. in counseling from the State University of New York, and a B.S. in psychology from Cornell University. She has taught psychology at community college, private and state universities. She consults with businesses and organizations about creating safe space for a functional work environment. She also accepts speaking engagements to discuss her book or perform poetry. She holds an unpublished poetry collection of over 150 poems and is a spoken word artist. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Too Much Love Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Silence of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Rosenna Bakari is a memoir that looks at the silent suffering of a woman who experienced sexual abuse and trauma in her childhood, and who was coerced into silence by a culture that protects aggressors instead of victims. She writes: “I had kept the rape a secret since age seven, and even kept it a secret from myself. To this day, I have no clear memory of my brother violating me.” It’s an experience that is shared by many women who are violated in their childhood — they are either forced into silence or are driven by shame to remain silent to a point that they even deny it ever happened.

In this memoir, the author courageously tells her story, exploring the unhealthy dynamics in her family. Readers understand how what happens in our childhood can determine the quality of our psychological and emotional health as we grow into more mature adults. Readers will understand the silent tears of the protagonist, encounter her in moments of frailty, and learn how coping mechanisms, which include silence, can lead to more suffering. This is a heartbreaking yet inspiring story, one that encourages abused women not to surrender to silence and allow the pain to eat them from within, but to seize the courage to face the evil by naming it and speaking about it.

This is a story about healing from someone who, for many years, covered her pain in other passions. Readers will understand that at some point one has to have the courage to open the wound, for it is only then it will cease to fester and can start to heal. Rosenna Bakari brings into her writing her expertise in psychology and helps readers understand the different wrong ways they have been taught to deal with childhood sexual abuse. The narrative in Too Much Love Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Silence of Childhood Sexual Abuse is insightful and emotional, driven and focused, and the book offers powerful lessons to readers.

Joel R. Dennstedt

With the subject of early sexual abuse such a prevalent topic on social media, one might be forgiven for accepting supposedly self-confessing memes to be revelatory of a beginning psychological cleansing. Dr. Rosenna Bakari, in her exquisitely written, devastatingly candid, and ruthlessly self-exposing memoir, Too Much Love is Not Enough – truly a case study of long-lasting psychological/emotional damage – puts to shame such shallow thinking. This book is so intelligent and insightful, so forthright and uncompromising, so devoid of false rationalization or self-pity, that one wonders if the author is talking about herself. But this is not an ordinary victim of incest and subsequent abuse. Dr. Bakari possesses an intellect fully equal to her damaged feelings, and a persistence to endure and to succeed that got her to Cornell University, after all.

Dr. Rosenna Bakari accomplishes something in Too Much Love is Not Enough that is quite remarkable: somehow, she fully inhabits the central character (herself) while examining this broken individual (herself) with the clinical and academic precision and objectivity intrinsic to her highly demanding psychological profession. What may fascinate the reader most is Dr. Bakari’s focus on the greater damage done by continued silence than the initial invasive betrayal itself. For those victims of similar abuse, this must be a terrifying admonition. For those on the outside of such abuse, this is an enlightening and provocative consideration, making us cringe and wonder: how many such souls walk among us? Either way, the courage demonstrated within this profoundly clarifying book is astounding. Both the writing and the willingness to share such terrible secrets provide all the credibility one needs to know why so many shallow memes are surfacing. Tip of the iceberg, is all.

Ruffina Oserio

Too Much Love Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Silence of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Rosenna Bakari is a compelling memoir that answers the question: What does it take to heal from childhood trauma and sexual abuse? With unusual honesty, the author shares her heartbreaking story, starting with the rape by her brother and the painful experiences with a father who didn’t care at all. Readers encounter a woman who gives the impression that she is healthy and successful, hiding her pain behind poetry, her pursuit of education, and her martial arts. In this memoir, she demonstrates how our culture of silence leads women and those abused in childhood to experience untold suffering. This book chronicles her journey towards healing, unveiling the scars she’s hidden over the years, and exploring the psychology of a sexual harassment victim.

Rosenna Bakari’s memoir is a powerful gift to women who have suffered sexual abuse in childhood and anyone who feels pushed to the wall through silence after being hurt sexually and deeply. In this book, the author allows readers to touch her pain, speaking about her vulnerable humanity with a lot of respect and courage. This is a memoir with a powerful psychological bedrock, a book that explores the psychology of sexual hurt and the ugly place of silence in a culture that encourages people to mask their pain, no matter how gruesome it may be. The writing is confident and filled with insight. Too Much Love Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Silence of Childhood Sexual Abuse explores the effects of silence in the lives of abused women and offers a path towards reconciliation with self, building self-worth, and experiencing inner freedom. It’s a very insightful and inspiring book for both victims and sympathizers.

Gisela Dixon

Too Much Love Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Silence of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Rosenna Bakari is a memoir that talks openly about the topic of childhood sexual abuse and her healing from it. In Too Much Love Is Not Enough, Rosenna starts off with providing a background of her own trauma and what prompted her to write this book. The book then dives into Rosenna’s life, from her earliest memories to her present day life in a chronological order for the most part, including information about her parents, siblings, and the dysfunction in the family, her own rape and sexual abuse as a child, her teens and growing up years, experiences in school and college, her marriage and relationships, and of course, the feelings of low self-esteem, guilt, and shame that almost every person that has survived childhood sexual abuse, especially at the hands of a family member, is left to cope with. Rosenna also provides her own insights and tips along the way in her struggles to overcome and heal from this past trauma.

I really liked the way in which Too Much Love Is Not Enough is written as it is not simply an autobiography which would have been useful to read in itself, but it provides a real look into the thoughts, emotions, and feelings of a victim of childhood sexual abuse. This is especially relevant when the majority of abusers in these type of cases happen to be family members or people that are known to the family. This adds another level of confusion, shame, and trauma for the victim. Rosenna’s sympathetic writing style and her genuine desire to share her story and help others are very evident in this book. A book like this is a necessary read not just for sexual abuse survivors, but for everyone since people in general need to learn how to provide support and encouragement to survivors in such times of healing. This is a great book that I would highly recommend!

Sefina Hawke

Too Much Love Is Not Enough (A Memoir of Silence of Childhood Sexual Abuse) by Rosenna Bakari is a memoir that is best suited for an audience made up of only mature young adults and adults who do not mind reading about the sexual abuse of a child. Rosenna was sexually abused by more than one person and that affected her life in many ways, yet as an adult Rosenna founded Talking Trees and managed to turn her traumatic past into a way to motivate others to come forward and speak about their own traumatic past with sexual abuse. This book follows the life of the author, Rosenna Bakari, from childhood, through college, and to an adulthood of healing.

Too Much Love Is Not Enough (A Memoir of Silence of Childhood Sexual Abuse) by Rosenna Bakari is not a self-help book, but instead the story of how Rosenna was sexually abused and how she later managed to heal from that trauma. I liked that the author did not write a 'how to' book on how to heal from childhood sexual abuse, but instead shared her own life story; this helped to show what many survivors of childhood sexual abuse go through. As a psychology graduate, I identified with the author on a professional and educational level and I felt that I learned more about childhood sexual abuse from this book than I ever have from any professor or textbook. Overall, I feel this book would be extremely motivational and inspiring to anyone who has suffered from childhood sexual abuse and that it could be a helpful book to anyone helping someone to heal from childhood sexual abuse.