4 out of 4 stars
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Seeing Eye Girl: A Memoir of Madness, Resilience and Hope by Beverly J. Armento is an autobiography written from the personal knowledge of the author. Beverly became an adult as young as age five and had to care for her infant sister, Sharon, and guide her blind mother after her father left them following a terrible encounter that contributes to the numerous emotional scars she has. She serves as her mother's seeing eye, guiding and helping her mother through basics such as going to the stores. However, this does not prevent her mother from making her the victim of her numerous waves of abuse and attacks, physically and emotionally. There is a similarity between Beverly and her mother, double personality. While in public, her mother exhibits an interesting, talented, sweet, and expressive face, but at home, her mother expresses a violent face full of anger and rage. Beverly, on the other hand, shows to the public the Strong Beverly—intelligent, smart, and a go-getter but at home, she brings out the Weak Beverly—a victim of her mother's mental disorder and rage who has, like other members of her family who are victims of her mother's abuses, developed strategies that will enable them to cope. At twenty-three, the abuses only increase, and Beverly is left with two choices; remain with her mother, continue to be the breadwinner and caregiver of the family but also continue coping with the escalating abuse, or on the other hand, commit suicide and end it all.
There are several positive aspects of the book. First, the book is told with lots of imagery. Beverly uses descriptive language that appeals to the reader's senses. She described the story of her life so that a reader who didn't witness the events in the book firsthand would still be able to feel how the characters felt. Second, Beverly toned down the use of exaggeration of events and characters. She exposed the characters for who they are, highlighting their weaknesses with an equal level of truthfulness as their strength. Third, the major events that contribute to the abuse and their effects on each of the family members were all exposed, giving the reader a chance to understand the abuse members of the family felt for an extended period. Also, Beverly employed the tool of suspense in this memoir. For example, during the period she contemplated suicide, a reader would be interested in finding out if she embraced that option at the end.
There is only one negative aspect identified in the book. The book is in the form of a novel. However, there are some parts of the book that were kind of written in the poetical style of enjambment. An example of this can be found on page 294.
The book contains a few errors. This shows that some level of care was exercised in editing the book. On this basis, and added to the positives highlighted above, I will rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. I wish I could rate the book higher than the maximum. This is because the author found an interesting way of telling this emotional autobiography in a way that will keep a reader glued to the end.
I recommend this memoir to persons suffering from one abuse or the other, be it physical or emotional, who have formulated coping strategies and who are afraid of taking the bold step to break away from the abuse.
Seeing Eye Girl
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