"Get out here, now, or I'm gonna kill you!" he hollered.
girls are hardwired to hold their daddies in high esteem, so it comes
as a shock the first time a daughter feels the back of her daddy's hand
across her face . . . or watches him punch and kick her mother to within
an inch of her life.
How could this be? Her older sisters teach her how to survive, even when he comes for her in the night.
girl learns to become invisible, to look the other way, to say nothing
when a curious stranger asks if she's okay. To lie. To expect nothing,
not even from relatives.
To cry without tears.
To pray silently.
When she is fourteen, and weary, a girl begins to wish she were dead. Cruel Harvest is the compelling story of how she lived instead.
This is a difficult subject to write about, especially when you are so close to it as Fran Grubb obviously is since it is a memoir. Physical, mental and sexual abuse are horrible things to undergo. Grubb and Reardon do an amazing job of conveying the abuse without being crass. As a reader you understand the fear, the terrible situations and the acts of evil that occur without the four letter words that must have been used or the minute detail that would have pushed this into something that a Christian publisher would have turned down.
This story, while horrible, demonstrates the power of faith. How Fran was able to hang on to God when she had no church she attended regularly, no Bible to read and few examples of what it is to be a Christian is a testament to God himself.
I can't label this as a "good" read. The subject prevents that. What I can say is that you will find yourself with tears in your eyes as you watch Fran's family run away from her father, eventually leaving her alone with him. You will cringe when you read how easy it was for him to walk back into his children's lives and again subject them to his torture. You will be stunned at the logic that some use to justify committing one evil in an attempt to rescue Fran from another. If you have never suffered abuse and do not understand how easy it is to be charmed by an abuser or how you begin to believe what the abuser tells you about yourself, you will wonder why the women in Fran's father's life chose to stay.
Fran makes no excuses for the actions of those around her. It was a different time. One in which fathers ruled their families however they saw fit. Spousal abuse, while maybe not common it was often overlooked. Child abuse as well. It was a different lifestyle. As a migrant worker you were never really anywhere long enough to form bonds with others. As a result few on the outside took notice of what was going on. For Fran, it was what it was.
This is a story of triumph however. By God's grace she makes her way out from under her father. She overcomes, she reconnects with siblings, and she learns to forgive. Truly a testament to the Spirit that lives in her.
You can purchase Cruel Harvest: A memoir on Amazon by clicking here
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