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Who wants to read about child abuse?

(19 Posts)
Elf Fri 01-Aug-08 15:33:19

Sorry if this has been done before, I can't see it anywhere.

I just can't understand who buys/reads all those books that are out at the moment about people's first hand experience of child abuse. At the library it seems that at least half of the top ten books are ones like these.

Why would anyone, whether you've been abused yourself or not, want to read this stuff? It's obviously popular but why would anyone want these images in their heads? I don't see how it could be supportive to either be the writer and tell the whole world, or be the reader and read all that stuff.

Some books have a bit of violence in them but aren't just about violence. These books, it is the main subject and I don't get it.

I'm very interested if you read them yourself or have any thoughts about this.

WideWebWitch Fri 01-Aug-08 15:34:27

I started a thread about this a while back, totally agree. I think there's something very, I don't know what the word is, creepy maybe? Prurient? I find them distasteful in the extreme.

witchandchips Fri 01-Aug-08 15:36:16

read somewhere that people's interest in this kind of thing is why we have fairy stories (which are quite frankly really horrible when you think about it). People are scared about this kind of thing and need to read stories which start off bad and come to a happy ending. Knowing that a good resolution is possibles makes these things less frightening.

mamadiva Fri 01-Aug-08 15:47:20

I know they are horrible but I like to read them. Not because I like child abuse or anything, like witchandchips said I like to read them because I find it interesting how people get through these things because there are so many people out there(most of them on Jeremy Kylewink) who seem to think that because they had a bad child hood then they must ahave a bad adulthood.

Elf Sat 02-Aug-08 06:49:22

Yes, I've read about the history of fairy stories and you are right WAC, they are really horrible if you think about it aren't they?!

I see what you mean about wanting to see a happy ending too. However, Mamadiva, do you not then think about all these horrible things that you have read about? Or can you put it out of your mind?

Thanks WWW, I'll see if I can find your thread.

3andnomore Wed 06-Aug-08 17:58:35

I read the books for the same reasons as mamadiva, but I also read them because I work with youngsters with challenging behaviour that are beyond being fostered. And those Kids often have been abused....I suppose I read those sort of books because I want a better understanding of the whole subject matter. Not sure if that makes sense.

It's not just domestic childabuse I read about, also read plenty of books about women in the Magdalen laundries, ect...and just now finished an incredible book called "Stolen Innocence" (by John Batt) about Sally Clark and her trial and how she was freed. It has really opened my eyes to what goes on in Court.

Uki Sat 09-Aug-08 12:30:18


sounds like you like to keep your head in the sand. i think it is really important that people become more aware of issues of abuse. Abuse is really common and could be alot less common one in 4 girls and one in seven boys are sexually abused. if you have children I think you should read these books to find out who and why abuse happens.

I find nitty gritty and horribile real life a lot more insight and intesting than prissy, swissy soppy lolly fiction.

Dave pelzer's A child called it' series of books are a heartbreaking and inspiration read

cyteen Sat 09-Aug-08 12:37:35

Not wanting to read the prurient details isn't the same as putting your head in the sand, Uki. I also think it's important that people are aware of the truths of abusive situations, but that doesn't mean that I want to spend my spare time wallowing in the minutiae of how one particular person was abused. Nor does it mean that I need to, just like I don't need to watch graphically depicted rape scenes to understand the dynamics of rape and how utterly vile it is.

Each to their own, but to say someone is hiding from the truth because they don't read these books is as wrongly reductive as saying that those who do read them are all rubberneckers in search of a cheap thrill.

mamadiva Sat 09-Aug-08 12:56:41

At the end of the day some people like to read these stories and some do not. I can only speak for myself on this one but I certainly don't get any kind of thrill reading about abuse I just think it's a subject I'd like to be more aware of IYKWIM. My dad and his brothers were seriously physically abused and I have a friend who was sexually abused so it's not something I've never been sheltered from I've always known it goes on so why try and hide from it?

As Uki said I think these books are alot more gripping and interesting than some of the fictional stuff out there.

Each to their own I reckon.

3andnomore Sun 10-Aug-08 16:43:13

Oh, forget to say earlier....OP mentions, she thinks that it can't be helpful to the author to put their stories into writing for all to see....I believe, that that is a wrong assumption, because, I get the feeling, that many writers actually do it as part of their own healing process.

I do believe they often will get a very positive reaction of their readers, which might help them. You can't forget, that often the victims of abuse are often seen as the guilty party....even though, it seems so unlogical....but the nearest and dearest will often blame the victim....and seeing the reaction of readers being the complete opposite might help a little bit along the way.
Does that make sense at all?

Uki Mon 11-Aug-08 04:03:35

3andmore- exactly !!!bringing out abuse and how and why it happens, is benefical to all, as people can understand all the feelings and the huge impact it has on victims and even the families, guilt, shame , blame all these viewpoints need understanding.

Elf - i really think you need to read one of these books and then make your mind up, i have read many, and none i have read are graphic about the abuse, it's more a part of the book but not the whole book. Very intresting and inspiration to read how people overcome and become stronger better people because of their abuse.

Elf Sat 16-Aug-08 21:23:42

I'm sorry, I forgot to check on this thread and I have now read the latest posts. I think you have some interesting points actually.

I hadn't thought that the books would only cover the actual abuse in a minor way and that of course there is a lot of other stuff to write about. I still don't want those images in my head but I do see that there is more than that bit to the writer's story.

Also, the point about the writer getting some positive feedback makes sense too. I am learning something here.

Thanks Cyteen sticking up for me about the burying your head in the sand thing because I certainly am not doing that. I know about it plenty just from general reading the papers etc , some from friends but I didn't think I wanted to read a whole book about it.

However, you have made me think that I might give one a go to see if it is inspiring and interesting. Thank you everyone for giving me a different viewpoint.

3andnomore Sat 16-Aug-08 22:44:54

Elf, if you ever do feel like wanting to read that kind of book, I can really recommend Toni Maguires Books ("Don't tell Mummy" and her following book "When Daddy comes home" ) Whilst these Books tell a sad story, teh author is a truely talented writer and you can virtually see Ireland in front of your eyes, the way she describes it.....!

mehdismummy Sat 16-Aug-08 22:49:47

just read cry silent tears, first and last for me it was harrowing

solidgoldbrass Sat 16-Aug-08 22:52:03

I think that the writing of these books is almost certainly very helpful to the person who writes them/experienced the abuse; writing down your thoughts and feelings about something bad is a well-known useful way of helping yourself heal. And I can also see that having such a book published could help the writer: if what was done to you went unpunished at the time, publicising it and having other people know what happened and maybe have some procedures set in motion to stop it happening again, can help to heal the pain.

However there is something a bit creepy and unhealthy about the size of the misery-memoir industry - all these 'No! Not the comfy chair!' and 'They wouldn;t buy me a playstation, waaah' books seem to be turning into competitive sadding. And quite a lot of them are now turning out to be made up exaggerated, as well.

Elf Sun 17-Aug-08 11:05:06

Thanks for the recommendations. To be honest I think I will have to take a deep breath before reading this stuff, it still feels scary. I guess I can always stop half way through if it's too awful. I'll have a look round. Once you've got your own children you can feel these things so much more acutely can't you?

3andnomore Sun 17-Aug-08 19:50:39

Like I said, the Toni Maguire Book is not a full on descriptive childabuse book, because, whilst the abuse of that sort did very much exists in her life, she also goes into the much subtler it could happen in the first place...i.e. the part of the mother...the whole relationship, it's not an all gory details account...if that makes sense....

jammi Sun 17-Aug-08 21:45:45

Message withdrawn

solidgoldbrass Mon 18-Aug-08 22:18:18

Jammi, I'm really not sure about that argument. I think a lot of people are just getting vicarious jollies out of the horrors: many people are very ghoulish. One doesn't need to go into every orifice of an abuse story to recognise that child abuse is a dreadful thing and to try to help others.

ALso most of these books are atrociously badly written. The only things that are worse in literary terms are Dan Farcking Brown and all those well-meaning but emetically unreadable memorial-ppoetry sites.

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