- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted March 17, 2005
Hope & Healing for Miss America
Review of Miss America By Day: Lessons Learned from Ultimate Betrayals and Unconditional Love by Marilyn Van Derbur, Oak Hill Ridge Press, Denver, CO: 2003. ISBN: 0- 9728-298-4-9, Autobiography/Abuse I chose this book because April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month as well as National Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month, and those topics are my work. The topics are thoroughly covered in Van Derbur¿s voluminous non-fiction story. Marilyn Van Derbur, a native of Colorado, is one of four daughters of a prominent Denver businessman (he is deceased). Her father was on numerous boards and committees, was honored with buildings named for him, and was president of ¿all the college fraternities in America.¿ Both parents were active volunteers, donating time and money to culture and civic organizations. Marilyn¿s mother would often state that she had the ¿perfect marriage¿ and Marilyn was told that she was ¿blessed by being born into a perfect family.¿ Marilyn¿s life appeared to be perfect, as depicted by the smiles in the pictures she shares throughout the book. Marilyn was crowned Miss America while she was attending the University of Colorado in 1958. When she graduated (with honors) Marilyn was a guest host on Candid Camera and a panelist on To Tell the Truth, as well as in commercials. She also waved to the public while in the Cotton Bowl and Thanksgiving Parades. She chose motivational speaking as her career, and was named the ¿Outstanding Woman Speaker in America¿ and was inducted to the ¿Colorado Woman¿s Hall of Fame.¿ Indeed, anyone reading her story might experience a twinge of envy for all the fame and fortune that seemed to come to her so easily and effortlessly. Except¿Marilyn suffered from physical symptoms including insomnia, tics, ulcers, and panic attacks. When her body and mind rebelled against the constant travel, she experienced full body paralysis, yet doctors found no organic cause. What else might Marilyn be rebelling against? She had to search her mind and spirit to find the answers. One of Marilyn¿s earliest memories is of her mother reading the Bible before bed. Another of Marilyn¿s earliest memories is of her father entering his daughter¿s bed after dark. What came next was repressed for decades until Marilyn realized that her father had committed incest from the time she was five until eighteen, an estimated six hundred times. All the while, her mother knew. Marilyn shares her split between the ¿night child¿ victim in contrast to the ¿day child¿ over-achiever. The physical symptoms she had endured were a manifestation of the connection between child sexual abuse and adult ailments. Marilyn writes, ¿I had never prayed. I didn¿t want a more powerful father and I knew, deep inside, that the Father my mother was praying to when I was a child wasn¿t protecting me.¿ However, when her story went public via the Denver media and People magazine, she asked of a Higher Power: ¿I want to help¿If you show me the way ¿I will do whatever you ask me to do.¿ Thus began the next chapter of Marilyn¿s life. She writes that it is ¿my mission to educate judges, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, therapists, and especially parents¿ about child sexual abuse. Not only does she educate with this book and her speeches, she also helps victims become survivors by sharing her healing journey. Throughout the book, Marilyn also shares with the reader her relationships with her husband and daughter, and the reader relishes in the emotional relief their unconditional love offers Marilyn. Ultimately, Marilyn manages to find peace. I would recommend this book as an astonishing story and educational tool regarding child abuse and sexual assault. Review written by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor¿s Story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.