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When the Piano Stops is McCall's revealing memoir detailing the abuse she suffered at the hands of her mentally ill father and her remarkable recovery as an adult. Now a highly successful family therapist, her ability to overcome the dark years of childhood is an inspiration to those who have been sexually abused. Her prose is lucid, with early events narrated from the perspective of a child, giving her story a stark authenticity and immediacy.
A true survivor memoir, When the Piano Stops is poised to change the face of literature on the topic of sexual abuse.
Reading "When the Piano Stops: A Memoir of Healing from Sexual Abuse" by Catherine McCall is like taking a walk, a very long walk down a road you have never been on before. On this road you will be exposed to both daring and humbling nuances of a child who experienced many kinds of abuses at the hands of her father and mother.
The title "When the Piano Stops" has to do with McCall's father, who played classical piano.
There are many reaons why this book is very important. One reason is because you won't want to miss how McCall measures her development and ensures her survival by stepping out of her anxiety and in to the arms of both the therapeutic and clinical community combined with the theological world of faith, hope and charity, in order to regain her composure. In this effort McCall manages to let a once fragmented and torn apart self achieve wholeness.
Another reason is because McCall gives new meaning to the word
"daughter" and makes great use of her faith in this work. But more importantly she also shares her pain and revelations with us through the demonstration of her trust in a "sisterhood" through the friendships she develops with many women. The first one is with her grandmother. McCall's portrayal of their love for one another is so vivid it is absolutely stunning. In addition, her long-time therapist, Mary Anne played a pivotal role in her healing.
And we must also appreciate that as a licensed Family and Marriage Therapist, McCall reveals the intimate details of her marriage to Peter who was stalwart in his devotion to her and their family during many a crisis. Yet one needn't confuse those strengths with perfection. McCall is not interested in painting prettier pictures of reality for us, not after what she has lived through. Her book is raw, as raw and as fresh as the graphic images of the story she needs to tell ... so be prepared to enter the world of elder care, death, grief and redemption and by the time you reach the end of the road you will draw your own conclusions about Catherine, her family, and her faith but I can assure you that you will probably not see sexual abuse survivors in quite the same way you had before you opened her book.
This work is a feminist work of art with a deeply moving Epilogue, Appendix, an extensive Bibliography, Acknowledgements and Group Discussion Questions.
Kaolin is the author of a forthcoming book from Crandall, Dostie & Douglass Books, Inc. titled "Let's Talk About Race". Kaolin also sells Spirit Journey Photography and writes on many topics. You can reach Kaolin her at email@example.com
Posted March 11, 2009
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