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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Incest Survivors Will Cheer for: "The River of Forgetting" by Jane Rowan





"The River of Forgetting" is a book that is so rare and so unusually told that it will strike at the mind and emotional depths of children of incest, I guarantee it.



About the Author:

JANE ROWAN
is a survivor of childhood trauma and betrayal and is passionate about sharing her healing experiences, including Inner Child work. She is a New England writer and poet. She retired from a long and successful professional career to have more time to write and to live fully. (Jane's name is a pseudonym.)  Jane is also an artist.

Her website can be found at:  http://www.janerowan.com

Jane's booklet, Caring for the Child Within - A Manual for Grownups, is a short but powerful guide to nurturing your Inner Child.
 
Her memoir about her healing from incest is titled The River of Forgetting. It was issued in Dec. 2010 by Booksmyth Press.
 
See Jane's Inner Child memoir blog for thoughts on inner child, recovery, and writing memoir.

Read Jane's article, Soothing Your Inner Child, a short set of hints taken from the booklet on Caring for the Child Within. Or read her articles on Recovered memories of childhood abuse and Creativity and the Inner Child.

Find Jane on Facebook and Twitter.


An Excerpt:

Prologue: Rivers of Detail, Oceans of Fog

It's one of the good memories. My father is bending over the hull of the upturned boat, picking out the old caulking, scraping away at last year’s paint and barnacles. He uses a putty knife to push ropes of smelly, tarry oakum into the cracks. He will paint the boat gray, with a rusty fouling-resistant paint on the underwater part to keep the barnacles from slowing it down.

The fierce sweating sun is trapped on the oyster-shell shore between the steep bank and the water, making an island of heat. My father wears cut-off pants and one of those ribbed cotton undershirts with the thin straps. His shoulder muscles bunch and his freckled skin is red. He has a cap to protect his balding scalp, or else he has tied a handkerchief at the corners to make a rough covering. He swears occasionally when the knife slips.
I come near him and poke at the soft blisters of gray paint. I can only stand the heat for a short while, but I scrape until my eight-year-old arms get tired. Then I walk out onto the wooden dock to watch the tide come in and the little fishes swim. The sun-bleached scene is clear: the brown leather sandals I have to wear against the sharp oyster shells, the scarred wooden sawhorses holding up the boat, the strands of brown seaweed doodling the high tide mark, even the nails in the cedar posts of the dock. Hours of pleasure and idleness.

I HAVE OTHER MEMORIES, blurred in a sickly fog. Urgent night voices behind closed doors. “What can we do about it?” “There’s nothing we can do.” “She’s too young to remember; she’ll be all right.” And memories murkier still, fastened into my spine and pelvis with binding force, huge with emotion, no pictures.

When the foggy memories arrived, they rocked my world, forcing me to ask dizzying questions: What is truth and how do I know it? Is it in the Kodak-sharp image? In the wrenching gut, the nausea? How do I keep the clear-cut detail and also give the nebulous shadow its weight, neither denying the other?

This is the story of how the past overtook me, how I found help, and how at last I integrated the shadows of my childhood into my life. In the process, I found unexpected love, joy, and freedom.


My Review:
This is a difficult review to write.  I want to tell you this book has touched my soul and psyche in ways that nothing else I've read on the subject has ever been able to.  That makes it difficult to summarize for me.

Over the years, as all of us probably have, I've read numerous books sharing survival stories of alcohol, drug use, dysfunctional families, incest, child abuse and the like.  Not until this book has any one of them had the same impact.  I attribute alot of that to the fact that Jane Rowan is not whining and enlisting the sympathies of the reader...or even asking for the blame to be placed not only on the offending father or mother, but on the opposite parent or guardian.

Jane Rowan's book is not a matter-of-fact story, either, but a real and honest walk with her in discovery.  It's as  if we're on an excavation, an uncovering of an ancient ruin (an apt word) that has such power to harm that it's a cancer that's virtually inoperable unless it's painstakenly routed out.  What a new concept!  No crying and subcon-scious or conscious begging for "poor me" readers--just "here's what I uncovered, it was such a journey to get there!"

Ms Rowan writes her non-fiction book like a novel.  It's a book so easy to read that one has nearly finished before it's realized.  I had a hard time putting it down.  The hours rushed by as I was caught up in her powerful and easy prose. 

One of the most intriguing and significant books of its kind I've had the pleasure of reading and reviewing.

Please check out Jane's website and follow some of her places where you'll find interviews of her.  I was so blown away when she noted that "a young Jack Nicolson" could be used to portray her father, and she could see "Sally Fields" playing her mother.  It really put these parents in perspective...beautiful and charming people.

"The River of Forgetting" can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other places where books are sold.   Other bookblogs will have more on this author and book:  http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/  will provide the next stop today.

5 stars for non-fiction

Deborah/YourBookishDame

*Book gratis for honest, personal review

Publisher: The Booksmyth Press, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
255 pages, 6 x 9 trade paperback
$14.95
ISBN: 9780981583020

2 comments:

Jane Rowan

Thank you, so much, Deborah, for really "getting" my memoir! I did just want to be honest, not show myself in any heroic light or cast my parents into darkness. You saw that!
All my best,
Jane

childrensandteensbookconnection

Thanks for this wonderful review of Jane's book. I'm glad it touched you so.

Cheryl

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