Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cruel Harvest: A Memoir, by Fran Elizabeth Grubb

 photo CruelHarvest_zps1baeaec4.jpg

"Get out here, now, or I'm gonna kill you!" he hollered.
Little girls are hardwired to hold their daddies in high esteem, so it comes as a shock the first time a daughter feels the back of her daddy's hand across her face . . . or watches him punch and kick her mother to within an inch of her life.
How could this be? Her older sisters teach her how to survive, even when he comes for her in the night.
A girl learns to become invisible, to look the other way, to say nothing when a curious stranger asks if she's okay. To lie. To expect nothing, not even from relatives.
To cry without tears.
To pray silently.
When she is fourteen, and weary, a girl begins to wish she were dead. Cruel Harvest is the compelling story of how she lived instead.

Thoughts: I can't find the words to describe how this story touched me. So much pain, emotional and physical, that Fran and her siblings had to endure, as well as their mother, stepmother, stepsister and half brother. No one should have to witness or endure even one of the things they did, and they all had to deal with years of being under the thumb of a monster--a monster they knew, from experience, was capable of killing if his rage ran hot enough.

Reading how the children escaped one by one, and then learning what had happened to them afterwards, was a bittersweet part of the story. Fran has a good life now, as do three of her siblings that she was able to find. And yet, they all carry lasting emotional impact of their beginnings.

I would heartily recommend this story to anyone who thinks THEY had a rough childhood.

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