Living with Evil by Cynthia Owen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I picked up the book I really thought I'd read it and it wouldn’t affect me at all, hey just another book about child abuse where I get really angry.
But the story turned out to really touch me and I'm even contemplating maybe changing my studies from Criminal Psychology to a more crime against children psychology.
I read this book very quickly. The author has a style that makes everything easy to read, well easy as in quick. The story is heart wrenching but you can't put it down! You want to know what happens to those children.
I have to agree with another review that I read about the book. I could feel what it must have been like living in that house. The dirt, the smells, the itching (I actually started to itch when she mentioned it). The dirty clothes and dishes, the beds. It made me sick.
The story starts with a bit of background and then it gets straight in to the horrible childhood that Cynthia had to endure. Not only the mental abuse from her mother, but the physical abuse by her father, then her mother, then her family and then strangers. I cannot even start to imagine what that must be like, and I don’t want to, I don't want to imagine any child going through something like that. The worst of any type of abuse (they're all bad, trust me) is that parents can do this to they're children. She asked for help from her mother, asked her father to stop, yet no one listened.
Later in the book you realise that Cynthia blocked out most of what happened to her as a child and only started remembering when her younger sister spoke up about her own abuse. This is very common. When something traumatic happens to you, especially when you are so young, you block it out. I think it is also due to the fact that Cynthia really wanted things to be normal, she even dreamt up normal days. This made it easier for her to block out the rest.
In any child abuse case I really don't understand why no one can see this happening! It makes me sick. Here is this little girl, firstly, she's so filthy that you feel sorry for her, but at the school she goes to the nuns just gun at her (Really, and they're supposed to be true disciples from God?). Secondly as someone else mentioned, why didn't her older siblings notice anything? What about her grandmother? Or was she in it the whole time? Thirdly, why when Mother Dorothy thought the child was pregnant didn't she alert the authorities? What's wrong with these people!
The book is brilliant, but beware, some things might not be in your face graphics but the way she describes it makes it all so real. You'll get the same feelings; smell the stale air, the urine and the cigarettes.
A brilliant book and I salute Cynthia for the courage she had to write it. I was shattered when I read that both her parents died before justice was served, but I'm sure that in the place that they are now eternal justice is being served, for no person who does that to a child, and not only one child but many, deserves to go to heaven.
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