Tuesday, August 4, 2015

BOOKSPARKS TRUTH OR DARE BLOG TOUR: The S Word (A Memoir About Secrets) by Paolina Milana

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Synopsis: In accordance with her Sicilian Catholic family’s unspoken code, Paolina Milana learned at an early age to keep her secrets locked away where no one could find them. Nobody outside the family needed to know about the voices her Mamma battled in her head; or about how Paolina forged her birth certificate at thirteen so she could get a job at The Donut Shop; or about the police officer twenty-six years her senior whose promise to her Papà to “keep an eye on her” quickly translated into something sinister. And perhaps that’s why no one saw it coming when—on the eve of her sweet sixteen, pushed to edge—Paolina attempted to take her own mother’s life. Raw and compelling, The S Word is the true story of a girl who nearly suffocates in the silence she was taught to value above all else—until she finally finds the strength to break free of the secrets binding her and save herself. 

Review:  I was touched by this book from the moment I read the dedication:
This book is dedicated to anyone who may be keeping secrets.
To children too little to know they warrant a voice.
To teenagers too confused to think they have a choice.
To adults too overwhelmed to do what's right.
And to those of us who have survived crazy and who--
blessed with a little perspective (not to mention nearly a 
decade of therapy)--realize we no longer need to stay silent,
and that spilling secrets may just help others
from feeling as if they need to keep theirs.

Every chapter of the book is titled with an "S word" which relates to the events it relates. The author has to deal with a life complicated by a mother with mental illness--a mother whose illness leads her to believe the entire family is out to kill her. To help her family, she lies to get a job, which leads to seduction and rape. 

It's a compelling story of all she went through, and her journey to overcome the past. Very powerful, and also memorable. I laughed, I cried, and my heart ached for the young Paolina....and then I felt proud and happy to see how she changed her life.

I received a copy of this book from Booksparks in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Rating: Four stars

About The Author
 photo uTbCl5ZD_zpsqshdicun.jpg For a long time, Paolina has told other people’s stories: first as a journalist; then as a PR pro for a nonprofit; then as a storyteller of students for a university; and most recently as a content marketer for the unsung heroes of small business. She has won awards for her fiction pieces and screenplays. The S-Word is her first full-length book.

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