Powerful, Well-Written, Painful Memoir
with a Touch of Joy
Chris McCallister, Ph.D.
The Story: Donald D'Haene tells the story of how he and his siblings were raised by a
father who seduced them into escalating sexual abuse, and a naive mother who was
controlled by her deceptive and manipulative husband. This book relates the subtle, and not-so-subtle, horrors of the abuse; the damage done to the
family; the eventual legal process against the abuser; and, Donald D'Haene's inspiring
journey to a healthier identity, sense of self, and way of life.
Writing Commentary: The book is not only well-written, with fewer typographical errors
than most published books, but the writing style is clear, fast-paced, compelling,
personal, and blatantly honest without sensationalism.
Psychology Commentary: As a reader of a novel, I obviously had no firsthand
confirmation of the facts related in the book. I can say that the author is
either a real survivor of childhood sexual abuse, or has studied it as extensively
as any therapist ever did. All of the signs and symptoms described are right on
target for survivors of sexual abuse: emotional numbing (dissociation) mixed
with rage episodes and depression; acting-out of suppressed anger; the building
of near-separate personas to deal with different situations or as ways to repress
intolerable feelings; flashbacks; identity confusion.
Content Commentary: This is a brutally honest portrayal of sexual abuse and its
lifelong and multitudinous ramifications. It is not for the squeamish. It could
of great value to other survivors of sexual abuse, if they are ready to face
aspects of their own abuse through identification with the characters in the book.
Overall, this is a well-written and realistic account of sexual abuse and its effects.