“In the fairy tales about father–daughter incest—‘The Girl Without Hands,’ ‘Thousand Furs,’ the original ‘Cinderella,’ ‘Donkey Skin,’ and the stories of Saint Dymphna, patron saint of incest survivors—the daughters are all as you would expect them to be: horrified by their father’s sexual advances. They do everything in their power to escape. But I didn’t. A child can’t escape. And later, when I could, it was too late.”
Throughout her childhood and adolescence, the anonymous author of The Incest Diary was raped by her father. Beneath a veneer of normal family life, she grew up in and around this all-encompassing secret. Her sexual relationship with her father lasted, off and on, into her twenties. It formed her world, and it formed her deepest fears and desires. Even after she broke away—even as she grew into an independent and adventurous young woman—she continued to seek out new versions of the violence, submission, and secrecy she had struggled to leave behind.
In this graphic and harrowing memoir, the author revisits her early traumas and their aftermath—not from a clinical distance, but from deep within—to explore the ways in which her father’s abuse shaped her, and still does. As a matter of psychic survival, she became both a sexual object and a detached observer, a dutiful daughter and the protector of a dirty secret. And then, years later, she made herself write it down.
With lyric concision, in vignettes of almost unbearable intensity, this writer tells a story that is shocking but that will ring true to many other survivors of abuse. It has never been faced so directly on the page.
An anonymous author reveals a lifetime of secrets in this unforgettable memoir as she tells the story of her relationship with her father, who raped her over the course of her childhood, until the author was 21. The result is one of the most frank and cathartic depictions of child abuse ever written. The author recalls abusing her Barbie dolls, her sense of being the other woman to her own mother, and the mingling of violence with desire, a tendency so crucial to the author s development that it continues to govern her adult relationships. This is not a story of things getting better, but an unflinching and staggeringly artful portrait of a shattered life. Sex with my father made me an orphan, she writes, and the feeling is underscored, pages later, with a fact: He threatened to kill himself if I told anyone. Works of art by Fernando Botero and Frida Kahlo are invoked throughout, as are the fairy tales in which the author searches for analogues to explain her condition. But by the end of the book, she has articulated an experience that for many victims remains unspeakable.
Equal parts horrifying and necessary.
The author had to live this nightmare at the hands of the one man who should never have harmed her. The least you and I can do is listen to her story, and give her truth the acknowledgment she never received. This story is far too commonplace. It’s frightening. I don’t know the author, but I’ve caught myself thinking about her, wondering how she is doing. I hope she’s found her peace.
Amazing but terrifying
made me sick to my stomach, i hope she’s okay.
The honesty in this woman’s writing blew me away