Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember Youby Sue William Silverman
Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You destroys our complacency about who among us can commit unspeakable atrocities, who is subjected to them, and who can stop them. From age four to eighteen, Sue William Silverman was repeatedly sexually abused by her father, an influential government official and successful banker. Through her eyes, we see an/i>… See more details below
Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You destroys our complacency about who among us can commit unspeakable atrocities, who is subjected to them, and who can stop them. From age four to eighteen, Sue William Silverman was repeatedly sexually abused by her father, an influential government official and successful banker. Through her eyes, we see an outwardly normal family built on a foundation of horrifying secrets that long went unreported, undetected, and unconfessed.
With great courage and startling compassion, Silverman tells the story of how her father, once chief counsel to the secretary of the Interior and later an international banker, made her his sexual companion. Beginning when she was four years old, the incest escalated from fondling in the bathtub to oral and finally full-fledged and frequent vaginal intercourse. With her mother's unspoken acquiesence ("I was a present to her husband") Silverman became a willing instrument in calming her beloved father's frequent rages. Extraordinarily frank ("It feels good, yes. I discover its pleasure before its shame"), Silverman is able to recreate the emotional trail that leads from terror to pleasure, from confusion and fear to disassociation. Two new personalities emerge to take the brunt of her father's sexual forays. One is Dina, passive and wanting only to please; the other is Celeste, angry, challenging, and hungry. But even with these guardian personae, the little girl Sue remains acutely vulnerable. As a second-grader, she felt so unprotected that she dropped out of school for a year; a few years later, during an especially traumatic period, she spent most of three months sleeping. As Silverman enters adolescence, she struggles to break away, but not until she leaves for college does her father abruptly stop his sexual marauding. Silverman spends the next 30 years trying to understand and control both her sexual aggressiveness and her self-starvationan attempt, in essence, to make her abused body disappear. With therapy and a loving husband, she succeeds and, almost unbelievably, comes to terms with her parents as well.
Harrowing in its depiction of savage violation and profoundly moving in its portrait of a child's fear, confusion, and desperate search for a safe place.
"With great courage and startling compassion, Silverman tells [her] story. . . . Harrowing in its depiction of savage violation and profoundly moving in its portrait of a child's fear, confusion, and desperate search for a safe place."—Kirkus Reviews
"This harrowing memoir gives voice to the inarticulate terror Silverman suffered as a child, when she could never find the right words to describe her situation. She has found them now."—Booklist
“Readers of Silverman's wrenching memoir...are in for a rough emotional ride, but it is well worth it.”—Ms. Magazine
"Silverman's lyric style transforms a ravaged childhood into a work of art. The book reads like a poem."—St. Petersburg Times
"Searing, brave, powerfully-written . . . Sue Silverman's memoir is about more than incest; it is about evil, about denial, about the great chasm between the public facade of a prominent, successful family and its painful reality, and it is about how, as in a Greek tragedy, a curse has been passed down through several generations. This book is the cry that shatters the curse."—Adam Hochschild, author of Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son
"Silverman has a brave, piercing intelligence which transcends psychological explanations and does not require symbolism to convey a sense of what she went through. . . . She has learned exquisitely how to look at what she could not face and how to speak through those silences."—Fourth Genre
"Living, empowering proof that an orchid can bloom right up through concrete. A remarkable achievement from a remarkable woman who forces us to look for a word beyond 'survivor.'"—Andrew Vachss, author of Haiku
"Nothing less than a bolt of electricity to the hopeful part of us that believes every portrait of a happy family that we see. . . . A terrifying and heartening book . . . I know it's going to be passed urgently from hand to hand."—Rosellen Brown, author of Before and After
- University of Georgia Press
- Publication date:
- Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction
- Sold by:
- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
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- File size:
- 2 MB
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Exquisitely written book! Could not put it down. My Mother divorced my Father when I was five years old. Had she stayed with him the outcome could very well have had this kind of abuse to me and my sister. My biological Father remarried and sexually abused my step sister. Her story did not end this well. She became a prostitute and heroin addict and died of aides. Sue Silverman is an exceptional writer and I am in awe that she survived this kind of terrible abuse. God Bless you Sue and keep your beautiful spirit safe for the rest of your life.
this is a brutally honest book of incestual abuse that should be read by all. i could not put it down. very well written and easily understood
Thank you, Sue, for putting on paper what so many of us have had trouble verbalizing. I will always cherish reading a story with emotions and thoughts I experience. If any book has ever spoken directly to me, as if we were sitting together over coffee in my home sharing our true, most honest accounts, it is this book.
There are pieces of this story that will stay with you forever. It is shocking and painful but impossible to put down. What strikes me most about this book is the human capacity for forgiveness even when not in any way warrented.
The title lives up to its name. It's hard to believe a father could do the things to a daughter that this one does. Unfortunately, it is all to common. This story is brillantly written, easy to follow, and brutally honest. It will tear at your heart and make you think. This was definitely one book I had a hard time putting down.
The story of Sue William Silverman deserves to be much more widely known. Her story is painful, yet she wrote with great insight and no sense of self pity. It had to be very confusing for her as she was growing up, and she was able to sort out all the pieces and put them back together in a clear, honest way. Remarkable story.