3 out of 4 stars
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Four Grams of Affliction is a poignant memoir by Patricia M. Gunn.
On February 7, 2016, the author, together with her wife Elisa, their twin daughters Sofia and Charlotte and the author’s mother set out for a one week vacation in an exotic barrier island in Florida. On their last night on the island, the author made the mistake of going out alone supposedly to exchange business cards with a new acquaintance at the pool bar and ended up staying for a few bottles of beer. What happened next altered her life forever.
This is a painful and eye-opening account of one brave woman’s ordeal in the hands of a soulless predator who violated her soul and shook her life to the core. However, more than the physical pain which includes burning and throbbing ache in her private parts, urinating blood, bruises all over her body and a concussion that resulted to aphasia (loss of ability to understand or express speech caused by brain damage) was the self-loathing for allowing this vile and disgusting thing to happen to her.
This is a poignant memoir that depicts the harrowing aftermath of sexual trauma. In vividly agonizing details, the author walks the readers through the nightmare that was rape, from the overwhelming confusion and disorientation, to the trip to the Emergency Room, meeting with psychiatrists and neurologists, suicide attempts, and stays at psychiatric wards of hospitals. Worst of all is the self-hate that never leaves and eats at her and pushes her to self-destruction.
What I like most about the book is the strength of character that the author shows. It displays her extraordinary will to do the right thing not just for herself but for all the victims of sexual assault. It shows her firm grasp at hope and the genuine desire to share that hope to others.
The most important part of the book for me is the message about self-acceptance. Apparently, the author’s problems began with her sexual orientation as her anxiety concerning her sexuality led her to alcohol and substance abuse.
Undoubtedly, this is one well-written memoir. The author successfully describes not only the difficulties, frustrations, psychological as well as emotional trauma, the embarrassment and humiliation, the pain of disappointment but also the tremendous hate for another human being and the burning desire for justice.
However, this book is not for everybody as some scenes may make some readers feel uncomfortable. Moreover, by putting the flashback of the author’s adolescent years in the middle of the book, I found it difficult to pick up where the first part left off. Other readers, though, may not have any trouble with that. Finally, there are several noticeable errors within the entire book mostly grammatical and typos (like come upon and me and I didn’t had softball).
I, therefore, rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is a book about courage, determination and the hope and will to live. I recommend it to readers who enjoy memoirs and to those who appreciate books about rising above adversity. Some scenes of abuse and self-destruction may not be suitable for young readers.
Four Grams of Affliction
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