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3 out of 4 stars
Review by e-tasana-williams
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Most of the perpetrators in Ms. Miller's world are family members. The small town locals of Lords Hill, New Hampshire also make her life difficult. With a well-known family history of poverty, abuse and mental illness, Ms. Miller is an easy target for bullies. As she grows into adolescence she engages in self-destructive behaviors that lead her down the same path as most of her relatives. She starts using drugs and alcohol, and enabling her tormenters. A series of several disturbing events leads her to believe that her life could never amount to anything good. But for her faith in Jesus Christ, this would have been true.
Lords Hill: A Place Only God Could Save Me From is a compelling story. Ms. Miller recounts one instance after another of the emotional and physical abuse she experienced. I don't get the feeling that she is seeking pity from the reader, though. She gives credit to God for helping her forgive others for their abuse and neglect, and for helping her to forgive herself for ruinous choices.
Readers looking for an engrossing autobiography will appreciate this story. As with any tale of long-term abuse and neglect, you will experience sadness, anger and disbelief. Ms. Miller is far from passive, however, and hope will be added to the list of emotions as you read about her learning to advocate for herself. People with a history similar o Ms. Miller's may not enjoy reading this story, as it may trigger unpleasant memories from their past. They may also feel that she forgives too easily, or does not assign enough blame for the damage done.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is an honest, compelling true story that touches the reader from the first page to the last. It is in need of further editing, however, as there are several grammatical errors throughout the work. Kudos to Ms. Miller for having the courage and the strength to share such a difficult story with the world.
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-Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer 's Stone
by J.K. Rowling
When Miller was only a young child, her mother died in an automobile accident while driving drunk. Her father had divorced her mother and already moved on to another marriage, and he wanted nothing to do with Miller and her three siblings. He also withheld child support. The author moved in her with grandmother, Nana, and suffered under her often unkind authority. Her uncle Henry was an unabashed alcoholic who tyrannized the house with his mercurial bouts of insanity and anger. In one particularly upsetting scene, Henry stabs a pony to death in front of her. Miller enjoyed some respite from Henry’s madness during his frequent stays in a mental hospital. Aunt Charlotte, her mother’s oldest sister, often assumed the role of a mother figure, but she was also an incorrigible alcoholic with a predilection for brazen sexual exhibitionism and promiscuity. Miller was, by her own account, a neurotic and emotional child mercilessly targeted by bullies. Such relentless abuse eventually drove her to alcohol as a path to numbed oblivion, and she nearly died in a car accident driving while drunk, a sad echo of her mother’s death. Just as predictably, she sought comfort in the arms of abusive men, looking for self-destructive co-dependence more than authentic love. She became pregnant at 16 and reluctantly aborted the baby under pressure, a decision she always regretted. After leaving an alcoholic husband, she finally found a path to recovery and redemption through a newly discovered faith in God: “Only as my faith has grown into a deeper and more dependent relationship on God and His Son, Jesus, has my life had the most balance and peace.” This is a grim remembrance told—amazingly—without demonizing the tormentors; in fact, Miller lovingly depicts all, even the most abusive, with a forgiving sympathy. For example, she thoughtfully considers the challenges Nana must have faced when suddenly saddled—well into her 60s—with three children to raise. The theme of this inspiring autobiography—beautifully rendered by the author—seems to be the deeply therapeutic value of granting clemency to one’s abusers.
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