Whisper of Hope, Cry of Despair

Non-Fiction - Memoir
76 Pages
Reviewed on 01/08/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite

In her raw and hopeful memoir, Whisper of Hope, Cry of Despair, Vicky Bedi relates her difficult relationship with her abusive mother and explores how this abuse impacted her life. She examines other broader topics including multigenerational abuse and trauma, and the Indian, French, and Slavic immigration experience during the early 20th century. Bedi’s grandparents immigrated from France, India, and Russia. Her father’s parents first settled in West Virginia and later moved to Pennsylvania and her mother’s parents settled in New York. Her parents married in 1937. Her mother was emotionally and physically abusive toward her husband and daughter. Bedi chronicles her journey to discovering her self-worth and developing empathy and forgiveness for her mother who had also been a victim of abuse.

Heart-breaking and insightful, the memoir offers hope for victims of abuse struggling to find acceptance and searching for peace. Her journey of building a career and succeeding in multiple fields is deeply encouraging. The work shines a light on important topics regarding the complexity of intergenerational abuse, the transmission of abuse and trauma, and the devastating impact of emotional and physical violence. It offers hope that it is possible to break the cycle and not only survive but also succeed. Parental abuse victims will find the themes familiar and find the courage to face their past. Whisper of Hope, Cry of Despair by Vicky Bedi is an eye-opening exploration of immigration and the events that impact multiple generations. It is an honest chronicle of hard-won battles against the effects of abuse.

Amy Raines

Whisper of Hope, Cry of Despair is a memoir by Vicky Bedi. Vicky’s mother blamed her father for a murder that seemed more like a love triangle than a family quarrel that ended in death. Her father never thought family was important and spent his time as a loner. Some of the family stayed in the old country while others immigrated to Springfield, Vermont. Vicky, a premature baby with a hole in her heart, shared a bedroom with her siblings, and like many of the others, she didn’t have a bed until years later. One of the greatest pleasures in her childhood was learning to play the piano, even though she had a difficult time reading music at first.

Whispers of Hope, Cry of Despair is a bittersweet story that shows how amazing the human spirit can be. It is heartbreaking to know that so many people faced such devastating times, yet this story gives hope that there is always a way to find a brighter future, no matter what the circumstances are. I believe Vicky Bedi to be a very brave woman who courageously shared her life experiences so that others may find hope in their own life. I recommend Whispers of Hope, Cry of Despair to those who like to read true stories about real-life struggles and the people who survived the turmoil even when the odds were against them. Bedi’s story will enable others in similar situations to feel that they are not alone and will inspire them to press on even when they don’t think they can.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Fulfilling a promise to pen a book, Vicky Bedi wrote Whisper of Hope, Cry of Despair. This started as a book about her mother, Laura, but it changed into a memoir with some genealogy. Bedi's ancestors were Slavic immigrants who had to endure harsh environments and hazardous working conditions. Her parents' behavior resulted from ill-treatment in an orphanage and abusive upbringings. The author details her experiences, familial, scholastic, and professional, as she grew from a child into an adult while managing the cycle of abuse, handling her life, and caring for her ailing mother and the mistreatment Bedi endured from her.

Every family has a story, but Vicky Bedi's ancestors had dealings with murder, suicide, alcoholism, mental illness, and abuse. Bedi shares pictures and documents throughout her work, detailing facts about the poor during the 1920s and 1930s, like the children having to share one pair of boots in snowy weather and how education was only free until a student graduated from the eighth grade. The author reveals her story to help people understand or seek to understand their ancestors without judgment, move forward while keeping their struggles in mind, and reach people with similar upbringings. Readers could view Bedi's writings as an inspiration for adults who grew up in difficult home environments to motivate them to step out of harmful cycles. Whisper of Hope, Cry of Despair is a good selection for readers who enjoy memoirs about overcoming sad life experiences or who hope to find relatable situations.

Philip Van Heusen

Murder, incest, shame, guilt, child abuse, spousal abuse, suicide; take your pick and it is in this book. Vicky Bedi shares her family’s history in Whisper of Hope, Cry of Despair as they journey from the Slavic regions to the United States in the early twentieth century. Experiencing child abuse and living in an abusive family result in personal fear, fear of the future, emotional distress, insecurity, and physical manifestations. Most people who arrived in the US from Slavic countries did not trust the government and were very independent. Vicky was 29 years old before she finally figured out that she was worth something and not just a worthless piece of flesh. Even after living through hell on earth, Vicky became an outstanding musician, artist, and charismatic outgoing person.

In Whisper of Hope, Cry of Despair, Vicky Bedi masterfully navigates the history of a dysfunctional family and shares the struggles experienced by many Slavs who chose to come to the United States. Vicky writes in a personal manner, telling her family’s history from the depths of her heart. Many passages might be trigger points for anyone who has experienced abuse. Even these tragic stories are presented in a personal and compassionate way. Vicky does not shy away from the nitty-gritty but presents it with the hope that the reader may better understand the struggles of coming to a new country, not knowing the language, and having the unimaginable happen to family members. This book is an eye-opener and will enlighten those who have not experienced the struggles of a dysfunctional family.