I thought I finished this book on Tuesday night when I came to the end credits (a sure sign, right?), but I was wrong. After “disc 10” played from my USB drive, “disc 9” began. Then a lot of things in the concluding chapters fell into place. I had missed 4 or 5 critical chapters. So I finished those up on my way to the airport this morning.
The entire time I was listening to this book I was appalled. Appalled that a mother or a father could treat their daughter this way. That a brother could be so violent “in the name of the Lord” to his “sittle lister.” That a girl could be so violently treated as a child, have it seen by her parents, and then deny that it ever happened. He broke her wrist once, and “it was all in her imagination.”
That they did all this in the name of the Lord, in the name of religion made me even more angry. This is a true story of Tara. It’s a story of survival, a story of what determination and good mental health counseling can do (when you’re willing to tell the truth). Her father wouldn’t send her to school because all public schools are run by the Illuminati to let the government brainwash you (almost an exact quote) so he brainwashed her at home instead.
Taught her that even showing her neck was “whorish” to do. That Diet Coke was Satan’s drink. The only books they were allowed to read were the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s letters. She didn’t have a birth certificate until she was at least 9 and then it was only a “declaration of birth” not an actual certificate because no one knew what day she was actually born. They didn’t see doctors, her mother had the ‘medicine of the Lord’ that cured everything.
No one was truly healed. Yes, their ailments went away sometimes, but her father was at least bipolar. I think her mother had Stockholm Syndrome because the man who was her husband was a terrible man. Her brother was probably bipolar too – a mental illness that can be inherited. She learned that the Holocaust happened her first week in college at the age of 18. Her father continued to deny that it was true.
Countless times I yelled at the father or the brother or the mother or the sister in the car. Shouting “he’s hurting her” or “you’re ridiculous” or “stop brainwashing her” or “you’re lying.” What an amazing testament to what sheer determination to change your life can do!