Empty Chairs by Stacey Danson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Simply put, this book is a classic - a superbly written gruesome real life horror story - and self-penned to boot, no ghost writer in sight (they would never write as well as Stacey anyway). It is direct, it is transcendent, it does not shut its eyes for a single second. Stacey Danson does for child abuse what Primo Levi did for the Holocaust - she survived it and rose above it (although Primo Levi committed suicide in the end).
Talking of suicide, you can see those chairs of the title emptying as apparently 13 out of the 15 people in the street gang Stacey joined at the age of 11 are now dead.
I am not easily reduced to shock. I used to volunteer for Amnesty International and know well enough what people are capable of doing the other people, but this is something else.
How do you prostitute a toddler of 3? How do you allow man after man to rape your daughter at the age of 5? How can you allow them to mutilate and torture her at the age of 10?
Rumour has it that Stacey Danson wrote this book because of a promise she made to a friend who subsequently committed suicide before she had put one word down on paper.
I have read the interviews. Stacey had to relive every moment in writing this book and, absolutely extraordinarily, it is not a bitter book, it is suprisingly uplifting, as Primo Levi's 'If This Is A Man' was.
There are lists out there of books to read before you die. This is a book to read to stop others dying.
It describes a continuing outrage, a living hell, outragously well. This is one hell of a book.
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