Unbroken by Madeleine Black
Published : 4th April 2017
Publisher : John Blake Publishing
Format : Kindle, Audio, Paperback
Genre : Autobiography
For many years after that night, my memories of what happened after he held the blade to my throat and threatened my life were fragmented... difficult to piece together. It was too extreme, too violent for me to understand.
Violently gang-raped when she was thirteen years old, and raped three more times before the age of eighteen, Madeleine has experienced more trauma in her life than most ever will.
Living in a state of shock and self-loathing, it took her years of struggle to confront the buried memories of that first attack and begin to undo the damage it wrought, as men continued to take advantage of her fragility in the worst possible way.
Yet, after growing up with a burden no teenager should ever have to shoulder, she found the heart to carry out the best revenge plan of all: leading a fulfilling and happy life. But the road to piecing her life back together was long and painful. For Madeleine, forgiveness was the key. True forgiveness takes genuine effort. It takes a real desire to understand those who have done us so much harm. It is the ultimate act of courage.
Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this amazing blog tour. I started this book at lunch and by evening I was finished. I could not put it down and was absolutely amazed at this woman's strength and courage despite everything she has been through.
Also a huge thank you to the author for the signed copy of her glorious book and hand written card. I am in awe of your strength and your story will stay with me forever.
To say that this book is an easy read, or that its one to read if you're in the mood for a light hearted story would be a lie. This story is raw, extremely hard to read in parts and brutally honest about events that have happened to the author but it is still told in such a compelling way that, like me you will probably start it and finish it in one go.
The story is about a girl called Madeleine, who at thirteen is so held hostage, brutally raped and beaten that it affects her life for many years after.
As teenagers do, Madeleine and her friend Kelly go out for an evening to sneak alcohol and meet boys. They both tell their parents that they are staying at the others house so they can stay out late.
During the course of the evening whilst out with some older boys that Kelly knows, Madeline unintentionally gets very drunk very quick and unlike her friend ends up sick all over the table.
They get kicked out of the restaurant and two of the boys drag her outside down a side alley, there starts the beginning of what is to be an entire evening of rape and abuse for Madeline that will nearly kill her.
Unfortunately this is the last time that she is taken advantage of or put into a position in which she has no control.
Throughout the story you follow Madeleine on her journey to recover. As you can imagine she pulls away from family, school, friends and becomes a completely different person. Her memories are very hazy of everything that actually happened as she blocks it out but one thing she remembers is that she must not tell anyone or she will be killed.
For the first half of the book you are reading of her struggle with just trying to exist, then the remainder you are reading about all the different types of therapy and self healing that she tries to try to learn to love herself again and live with what happened, and all the amazing things that she went on to achieve after.
Madeleine went on top work with The Forgiveness Project who are a UK based charity working with stories as tools for change. collecting and sharing real stories of transformation, it seeks to foster tolerance, build empathy and give people the opportunity to break the cycle of harm. This is such an amazing thing.
Why I Loved It
This was, at times very hard to read. I felt completely for the thirteen year old girl who had been through so much for no reason at all. This story was beautifully written and told in a way that allowed you to really connect with the author.
I was amazed at all that she had accomplished and equally felt anger that all the boys/men that had taken advantage had never received justice, especially the first two. I would have loved to have read that they went to prison in the end. Despite those feelings i found myself feeling immense pride that her focus to getting revenge was to live a happy life, which I hope that she does and always will.
This was my first autobiography I have read in a long time and I feel honoured that I have been able to listen to the authors story. That she is brave enough and strong enough to help others and tell her story.
I would recommend this to anyone that would like a truly honest, heart rendering and inspiring read.
Meet the author
The sharing of her story on The Forgiveness Project's website in September 2014, opened many doors for Madeleine in ways she never imagined and the invitations started to pour in. She has taken part in both TV and radio interviews and has been invited to share her story at conferences, events and schools. She recognises that she was a victim of a crime that left her silent for many years, but has now found her voice and intends to use it. Not just for her, but for so many who can't find theirs yet. She is married and lives in Glasgow with her husband, three daughters, her cat, Suki, and dog, Alfie.
Connect with Madeleine
The Forgiveness Project Rape Crisis Freephone helpline: 08088029999
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I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this review.