I don’t know why I ever chose to torture myself and willingly read A CHILD CALLED IT, but Dave Pelzer broke something inside me – I haven’t been right since. Knowing that, you’d think I’d have learned a lesson, (yeah, I know… I’m audibly laughing right now, too). Nope. Years after ‘ACCI’ I decided that I wanted to read THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, and I let Jack Ketchum walk right in and start poking at the wound that David Pelzer left with a big, pointy stick. I think it was the masochist in me who invited Mendal W. Johnson to drop by and sucker-punch my PTSD in the back of the head. As far as the ‘Let’s Go Play At The Adams‘ fiction/non-fiction debate’ goes – I’m sticking with IT’S FICTION, but I’m sure all the atrocities have been committed, many times, and on many different Barbaras.
Like LGPATA, THE ABUSE OF ASHLEY COLLINS is not a true story – but it very well could be. Watching the decreasing sanity, and the elevating brutality of Ashley’s parents demonstrates just how fast situations can escalate. One little poke at the wrong moment, and all control is lost – you can’t come back from certain things.
THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION. It is disturbing, and hard to read at times, but the author is not exploiting issues to gain shock value for a horror story. Jon Athan comes at the story from every possible angle, from every p.o.v., and sheds light on problems that most families would keep hidden in the dark. Let me misquote one of my favorite movies before you start reading…
WARNING: This book contains scenes of graphic violence, including violence towards children. This book is about abuse—verbal, physical, and emotional. This book does not feature any explicit sex scenes, but it does discuss sexual abuse. This book is not intended for those easily offended or appalled.
Ashley Collins, a sixteen-year-old girl, has severe behavior issues. She regularly fights with her parents, Logan and Jane. When the fights become personal and physical, Logan and Jane decide to take matters into their own hands. They chain their daughter in the basement and abuse her in an attempt to rescue her from her bad behavior… while delving into their own deviance and depravity.
This is a story of family and abuse. This is a story of violence and discipline. This is the abuse of Ashley Collins.
Jon Athan, author of A Family of Violence, brings you an uncompromising vision of human horror. Can the cycle of abuse be broken?
Connect with the author via Twitter – @Jonny_Athan, Facebook, through the officialJon Athan Website, or his author pages on Goodreads, BookLikes, LibraryThing &Amazon. You can email him directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or head on over to the West Coast and start stalking him the old fashioned way!
* I'm really glad that you didn't shelf the idea/book, and I think that THE ABUSE OF ASHLEY COLLINS is a better title than your original title. In fact, I think I may have misinterpreted 'A GENERATION OF ABUSE' when I first read it. I was going over my notes and highlights for the review when it clicked - the cycle of abuse - "ahh... OK".
* You made a comment on the 'Join the mailing list' page, and if I WASN'T searching for the things that you mentioned, I sure am now!! It may be a 'private matter', but... we're friends, right? :) IDEA!! If you collect all of the police files, doctor notes, patient files, and maybe even a "found" journal of Ashley's - it could sell as a companion book to THE ABUSE OF ASHLEY COLLINS.
* Something you said (after the story, before 'Dear Reader') made me [inappropriately] giggle for a second - (you know... that super disturbed, "I know I'm going to Hell", "Don't judge me!" giggle? No? Ever laugh at a funeral? Um... OK. Nvmnd).
"[...] Sure, there were a few things that may seem outlandish, especially towards the end [...]"
Well... there was something on the news just a few days ago -
"On Monday, March 6th, 2017 - North Carolina authorities arrived on the scene to witness 18 year old suspect, Oliver Funes Oliver Funes Machado, exit the family home "carrying a knife in one hand and a severed human head in the other."
Authorities found what was left of her body between the kitchen and living room. Funes-Machado had also told the dispatcher his 4-year-old and 2-year-old siblings were in the house. He said his father was not home.
The younger sisters were not hurt, and a teenage brother was at school."
Peace, Love & Necrophilia ♥
~ šhαd⊕ω gïrﾚ
"I like you, Russ. A lot. You’re a great guy, and you deserve to be with somebody who can hold you and make love to you—"
Russ held up a hand to quiet him. "Sorry. I think I got some dog hair clogging up my ear or something. That whole last sentence was just ‘blah, blah, blah.’ I didn’t hear anything after ‘I like you, Russ. A lot.’"
Derek stared at him for a long moment. Then a shy smile slowly crept across his face. "That’s okay. I didn’t really say anything after that."
Trigger warning: on-page sexual abuse & male rape!
Judging from the serious topic and the blurb, I was prepared to be left with my heart crushed when I finished this book. And I'm not gonna lie, this was NOT an easy read. Far from it.
But even though Derek's sufferings made me angry, raging, feeling frustrated and outraged most of the time, I've never once felt actually depressed or hopeless.
And that's because of two things:
Sweet, patient, supporting and comforting Russ. Russ, who was just desperately looking for love and a serious relationship, for "a nice guy who likes dogs and cuddling". Russ, who couldn't have stepped into Derek's life at a more convenient time. Russ, who took my heart by storm and instantly became one of my all-time favorite characters ever.
2. Jamie Fessenden's writing
The writing was very strong, and it handled the difficult subject of male rape and its fallout very well, with a lot of respect and dignity. There was just the right balance between the "hurt" and the "comfort" parts of the story. It was a satisfying and great read overall. Well done, Mr. Fessenden. Very well done, indeed.
So if you're mentally prepared for a tough and challenging read with a sensitive subject, you should give this book a chance. The author handled the heavy topic of male rape realistically and respectfully, but there were also enough sweet, tender and romantic moments between Derek and Russ to make your heart still go all "Awwww!".
This is an outstanding book. An important book. A book that will be staying with me for a long time. It gets a million stars from me.
Highly, highly recommended!
Thanks to Julie for the BR!