Eileen goes off to college, happy to be starting a new life and escaping the brother who has been sexually abusing her for years. But, as happens to many people who were traumatized as children or teenagers, college is not an escape, but a relatively safe place in which to face your trauma. Part of facing it, of course, involves a period of falling apart.

A thoughtful, engrossing novel about the effects of and recovery from child abuse, addressing all the major issues that abuse survivors have to face - denial, PTSD, family reactions, therapy, and well-meaning people who run right over your honest reactions and opinions in an attempt to impose their own ideas about healing on your individual self. If this sounds like a problem novel for adults, it basically is - but problem novels can also be good novels, like Speak: 10th Anniversary Edition (rape and recovery), or Izzy, Willy-Nilly (One drunk driver change her life forever ...) (coping with sudden physical disability).

I liked it - it's honest, sensitive, and comes to a satisfying conclusion - but it's very definitely a book about an issue, and so of varying interest depending on how much you want to read about the issue. If I'd read it when my own traumas were more emotionally raw, it might have been one of my favorite books ever. I wish I'd read it when I was in college.

While there are no graphic depictions of sexual abuse, the entire book is driven by sexual abuse. You have been warned.

Goldfish Dreams


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