Based on Kurt’s life, this realistic-fiction book was inspired by actual-life events.
My story is a profound, raw, balls-out depiction of deplorable violence, sexual abuse, and suffering. It speaks to the truth about rapes, what they really are and how they affect one’s psyche. Unfortunately, there were no politically correct white washings of the violent depictions within this story to make it a bit comfier and more palatable for the reader.
There are many graphic details of obscene language, brutality, violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, trauma, homophobia, and racism of the time that may be offensive or triggering for readers. As a result, this book may be overwhelmingly dark, depressing, and off-putting.
Therefore, this book should only be read by adults and just as critically by readers with a solid mental constitution. My book is not for the faint of heart.
My story may be distressing for some readers to understand and difficult for others to believe.
My story may also be triggering for individuals who have previously endured and suffered some forms of abuse.
John grew up in an incredibly narcissistic, dysfunctional family on a farm in southeastern North Carolina during the repressive 1960s. This was the model family to the broader community; his parents were considered pillars of society.
Yet, this family held many deep, dark secrets governed by family honor, vanity, and pride. The parents’ standing in the community was paramount to everything else. No one, no family member, circumstance, event, or situation, was to shame and embarrass them and get in the way of how they ranked and viewed themselves.
This way of life was ripe for something more insidious. In a calculated and controlled manner, John was sexually abused and groomed to become a sex worker for a satanic cult by his sadistic brother.
The sexual abuse began when John was six and lasted for eleven years. The ever-escalating forms of child and sexual abuse seemed to know no limits. During his abuse and afterward, John was controlled, silenced, coerced, and threatened with further violence and death by his abusers.
Often leaning on words of wisdom from his grandfather, John held it together and vowed as a teenager to move away and better himself.
This book is about his journey. A lifelong journey to escape from boyhood sexual abuse, his struggles to overcome severe PTSD, his determination to survive, and his steel will to succeed and make something out of himself.
This inspiring LGBTQIA+ coming-of-age story is about hope, courage, and the resilience of the human spirit.
What People are Saying ...
Heartbreaking! What a heartbreaking and horrific story. I can't even begin to tell you the feelings I felt while reading this book. This book brought tears to my eyes more then once and I was terrified for John throughout the book. It's amazing what he went through and all he was able to accomplish in his life. Although, he will always be reminded of the hell he went through. I've read many books similar but not to the extent of this one. The abuse dished out to John was unfathomable. This story will be with me for quite some time.
Thank you for allowing me to enter a world where it would seem impossible to survive from – and yet you not only survived, but you have thrived. There were moments when I was reading where I had to take a break because it was so transparent and horrific what happened to you, your sister, others. And there were times when I was in tears over a little boy and then teenager having to endure such continuous, excruciating events. You masterfully end your book with an epilogue for each person, and this not only educates the readers on the latest, but it also reminds the reader that what they’ve read is truth… I say this because I found myself at times disassociating my emotions from the words when they became too real – could this really happen?!
Tis Best Not To Talk About Such Disparaging Things! The author has stated, "We, children, grew up in a most turbulent time - when the United States, especially the South, was changing from the old to the new ways of life. We grew up in the 1960s and 1970s during the Civil Rights Movement, Desegregation, the Vietnam War, and the Hippie Movement. We grew up in a time when drug use became prevalent. We grew up in a time of great political and societal unrest and change in America. In contrast, we grew up in a repressive southern society of deep, dark secrets. Yet on the surface, it appeared that we grew up in a sleepy, conservative, unassuming, and uninspiring farming community. But under that cloak of disguise, we came from a society that clung to a past governed by strict adherence to culture, religious intolerance, and extreme racism." And this statement sets the tone for this story. This novel is incredibly difficult to read, as it conveys the sad reality of life for many children in this era. The author's instruction that you keep a box of tissues nearby indicates the immense pain and abuse inflicted on children during this time. Parents believed themselves to be entitled to do whatever they wished with their children, which included psychological manipulation, physical and sexual violence, neglect, and a lack of basic necessities. This heartbreaking story gives a glimpse into the tragic life of its author. It shines an uncomfortable spotlight on his struggles and suffering at the hands of those closest to him, leaving me with a heavy heart and longing for justice for what he endured.
Get Your Tissues Ready! The author provides an informative part before reading, pertaining to the trigger warnings. This book is not for the faint of heart. It was definitely hard to read some portions, as the author doesn't sugar coat anything. Like it was hard for my brain to process the things that happened in this book. I cried many times and was overcome with so many overwhelming feelings while reading. I will be thinking of this book for a while.
Not For Everyone! This book is not for everyone, I say that not meaning it was an awful book. The introduction preps and warns you about what's to come, but I still wasn't expecting what I read. I had to stop reading after chapter 1 and pick it up again. Put it down, pick it up, over and over. Like the other reviews, yes it'll make you cry. It made me cry and wonder how is this amazing person still alive? In my opinion, I would recommend this book but I'd warn those who read it. I thought I read or watched the most awful things, but this book proved me wrong. I read it for free on KU and buyed a copy to have in my home library. Please take the author's introduction to heart. This book proves we don't know what someone is going through.
Thank you again so much to the lovely, Kurt B. Ellis for considering me to provide an ARC to review his survival story. I was originally supposed to submit my review on 3/01/2023 on the release date of his book. It is now, 3/13/2023. Prior to applying to be considered as a possible ARC reviewer of his book. I was already slowly dealing with my own mental health issues & traumas that led me to a longer reading slump than I could ever have anticipated. I still chose to push through with reading, because I owed it Mr. Ellis to provide a review, regardless of the multiple times there were trigger warnings and I looked past them all because a difficult event from my life was yet again approaching and I needed some type of distraction, even if I felt that my timing to read this was bad. I am a mother, as many of you should already know and this incredible story was incredibly triggering, uncomfortable, and caused more than I can remember breaks from reading, disgust, heartbreak, tears, anger. Basically, all of the emotions that reading gives us. I hated this book, NOT because it was poorly written, but let me be specific, the people who were 100% included, except a few that were victims. It constantly made me question and reflect on humanity itself. Religion, those adult figures who we rely on with our children, the definition of vanity, denial, and how manipulative people can be when it comes to their getting what they want in life. This book is 1000% a 5 star read and though it was an incredibly difficult book, it had a few moments where I smiled and got all misty eyed because there was indeed a happy ending. One that I hope to have in the future when dealing with my own traumas. This story is a powerful one. Where you see a young boy deal with constant levels of abuse where it left permanent mental, physical and emotional scars and his story should give us all hope to try and preserve and for our own mental wellness push forward to obtain a more positive and fulfilling life because we all deserve it and shouldn't let our trauma win.
Please! This book is not fit for children as it comes with very mature content. After going half way through the book, I am sorry to say this but there is no room for forgiveness in my heart since i can not get over the fact that it was the closer people who did these kinds of things. It is too much for me to accept therefore I will keep every lesson from this book in my mind for life. The world of blood is thicker than water is strange indeed. This book is one million times a deep slice of life.
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