Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Suffering in Silence by Carolyn Outlaw Kuhn

Suffering in Silence by Carolyn Outlaw Kuhn ISBN 9781478715146

This is an independent book review that I have posted on Amazon. Please note, that while I gave the book one star, the other 6 reviewers at this point have all given it 5 stars at Amazon. Perhaps I am wrong in my evaluation, but I don't think so. Just because someone has a compelling story to tell doesn't mean that they need to publish a book about it, especially if using a self-publishing press.


This is a story that should never have to be written. It is one of family misery, physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse written by the daughter that survived it all. For too long people try to keep ‘family secrets’ while doing great damage to the family that they are trying to preserve. If you read these types of books as research into this type of family dynamic and to learn how to counsel survivors, then it should be of great interest to you. It is a heart felt story written about generations of family problems.

I really hate to say bad things about a book, but with reviewing books, at times I have to. It is to let the ultimate reader be warned. While this was a sad story written out of a woman’s anguish, it is very poorly written and edited. The timeline of the book gets jumbled so at times it is difficult to follow the story. I never could see or understand how she came to drop her anger towards her mother and then started loving her. She spoke about her mother going blind due to a stroke but when a subsequent stroke affected her hearing, they used a whiteboard to write on to communicate with her. These things she might have wanted to be clearer on.

The author also claims that her mother was “a good Christian and very religious throughout her life”. Being religious does not a Christian make. The Bible says “Ye shall know them by their fruits” Matthew 7:16. From the author’s writing during here entire childhood her mother never exhibited any signs of her mother wanting to follow Christ or follow Christian principles. She went to church on Sundays, period. She never showed love towards her children. She took in as many foster children as she could, not because of her love for children but for the money which she kept careful track of her ‘profit’ in a ledger. Her children never felt loved or safe from abuse. Her mother never called the police on the writer’s stepfather when he sexually abused her and then went on to sexually abuse one of the foster girls. At which point the mother did get rid of the foster children. That seems to be the only rational thing she did in the entire book.

I know that some survivors of abuse are encouraged to write about their experiences as a therapeutic thing. I think that this basically what this book ended up to be. But as a book to be published for the general public, not such a good idea. A ghostwriter could have helped to turn this book into a much more powerful and readable work. I also had a hard time trying to understand if this book was being written from a Christian perspective and if that was supposed to be the reason for the ultimate healing with part of the family. It just wasn’t clear, like many other points in the book.

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