Plot/Idea: This memoir tackles the heartbreaking traumas of childhood sexual abuse and the process of healing from them, and does so with honesty and awareness. The flaws here are all structural, with a timeline and pacing that would benefit from being strengthened.
Prose: The prose is accessible and compelling, but requires clarity to really let the story and ideas shine through. It should also have a more organized timeline of events so readers can easily follow the events of Sandomir’s life.
Originality: This memoir is original in that the author is so open to discuss difficult moments in her life, and to advocate on behalf of victims of abuse.
Character Development/Execution: Sandomir's book is overall successful in the way it is a deeply personal account of the author’s life, but it is also an inspiring story of overcoming adversity and rising above one’s circumstances.
Date Submitted: December 28, 2021
Sandomir recounts the “torturous” experience of dredging up old memories in the therapy sessions her new husband urged her to try, plunging herself into depression and stirring up intrusive thoughts as she learned to develop healthy coping strategies. Her memories of violence stretch back to the age of three, and while she’s frank about what happened she describes unspeakable acts with sensitivity, with an emphasis on their impact upon her development, relationships, self-worth, and a tendency toward self-sabotage. The line she draws connecting the trauma of childhood abuse to a pattern of abusive relationships in later life is stark and persuasive.
Frank and clear-eyed, The Invisible Girl finds Sandomir taking account of a life in which the suppressed memories of abuse shaped her choices in ways she hasn’t always understood, where a “once-loving relationship” could become “a full-blown psychological ordeal” she didn’t accept she could leave. (Not being able to leave becomes a frightening theme, especially when she describes being held at a hospital against her will.) What lingers after reading is the strength it takes to heal, how Sandomir eventually accepts that “unburdening” herself of her past is “the only path to laughter, self-love, awareness, and happiness.” Her book stands as a demonstration of how to heal.
Takeaway: A frank, encouraging memoir of healing after enduring cycles of abuse.
Great for fans of: Christy P. Kane’s Fractured Souls and Splintered Memories: Unlocking the "Boxes" of Trauma, Jennifer Debellis’s Warrior Sister: Cut Yourself Free From Your Assault.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A