Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ashes of Innocence by Alexandra Tesluk

Working in the social work field has unfortunately allowed me to interact with children who face similar circumstances to those of the author. More often than not, neighbors show up after the damage is done to say, "I knew there was something going on but I didn't want to be nosy." If someone would have been "nosy" butting into the sad, abuse filled life of Ms. Tesluk, she might not have had to endure so much pain at the hands of her mother and stepfather. However, as a result, she may not have evolved into the strong, loving, and kind friend, mother and wife that she did.

Ms. Tesluk tells a painful yet triumphant story about her life as a child. She was born at a time when families, including hers, were in war camps in Germany. It was a life where she was ignored and labeled inside and outside her home, abused emotionally, physically and sexually, and simply forgotten. To live in the home with your mother and not be acknowledged has to be far worse than not knowing her at all. Innocently, she longed for the love of her father who she barely remembered. Her daydreams often included her father coming to save her from the pain she endured. At times she was driven only by those dreams.

The reader can't help but be saddened by the truths that were in fact the fiber of Ms. Tesluk's life--neglect, hate, and consistent abuse. The story pulls at your heart strings. The scars of her childhood followed her to adulthood playing out in her relationships with men. She didn't love herself and fell into the only life she was familiar with; one of abuse and neglect. Despite the pain and horror that encompassed her life, Ms. Tesluk was resilient and overcame it all while learning to love herself and others. In short, she managed to bend when life was in fact doing all it could to break her.

I gave this book 4 stars because I did become lost at times in areas that were too wordy or in a few places where the author went from the past to the present. I found myself reading some sections over. The pictures were a great addition to the story. With professional editing, the author will receive the accolades she deserves. I do think the book should be shared with others trying to overcome their circumstances. They will be encouraged...

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