Breaking the Silence
By Diamante Lavendar
I’m not usually a fan of non-fiction or biographical fiction but this piece had me hooked right from the start. Actually, I asked the author for permission to review—not the other way around.
Last week I featured Diamante as my blogger spotlight in the Jingle Post countdown for Christmas. Click here to read that post if you missed it. This week I’m going to complete the other half of that post with this review of her book, Breaking the Silence, a story based on her own struggles and pain.
The story centers on a woman named Joan Eastman who is essentially no different from any other girl except for a dark secret she’s been harboring. Joan has been sexually and psychologically abused by family members. That’s not an easy topic to tackle and I wasn’t sure how everything would play out when I began to read the novel but I’m really glad I gave it a try.
Lavendar does a great job at reeling you in. She’s careful with her words but she definitely doesn’t sugarcoat anything. The subject matter in this book is real, even though this novel is just based on the author’s life I can only imagine the real pain she must have suffered in her childhood. It’s incredibly difficult to even think about such things but this book does the victim and protagonist, Joan, justice.
Breaking the Silence shines some much needed light in a very dark area. It is sad but there are parts that are heartwarming, such as Joan’s faith and the ‘Life Lessons’ we see inserted in the book. I really enjoyed the poem at the start; it set the tone for the rest of the book and gave us just a snippet of what we were to expect from the rest of the story. The last line told us not to lose hope, I believe this is a message from the author not just to other victims of sexual abuse but also to every other person who’s ever struggled through anything in life.
The quotes given throughout the book were also great. In some of the darkest moments in the book there was a life lesson that made me genuinely smile. I felt like they fit in with the flow of the story and didn’t distract from the reading at all. I also liked the inclusion of the main character’s faith. What Joan experienced was absolutely horrible but seeing her hold onto her beliefs was an amazing treat.
Whether you are religious or not, it’s important to understand and respect what helps someone through their struggles. I don’t feel like the religion was ‘forced’ on me, as I could have put the book down at any moment. Especially considering this story was based on the author’s real life, it only makes sense that Lavendar would include her faith as well as her pain. For her to share that through her writing is very precious and personable. I commend her on her bravery.
This is a story that has impacted me which is something that every book should do. The writing was strong, the characters were developed, and the structure was well framed. I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to read such a fantastic book. I would highly recommend this to readers of all ages and interests.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*