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95 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tough story you ought to read
Empty Chairs is a true story. It is horrific, it made me cry and it made me very angry.

It tells Stacey's story from an early age when her mother arranged for her to be physically and sexually abused through to her life on the streets when she ran away as a teenager and on to her eventual move to something approaching normality.

There are many...
Published on January 23, 2011 by Mr. John Booth

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaves you wanting to know more about her as an adult.
My heart goes out to the author of this heart breaking story of her early childhood. Would like to know more about how she turned her life around as a young adult and into later adulthood.
Published on September 21, 2011 by deb


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95 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tough story you ought to read, January 23, 2011
This review is from: Empty Chairs (Kindle Edition)
Empty Chairs is a true story. It is horrific, it made me cry and it made me very angry.

It tells Stacey's story from an early age when her mother arranged for her to be physically and sexually abused through to her life on the streets when she ran away as a teenager and on to her eventual move to something approaching normality.

There are many scenes in this book that will shock you, but there are also friendships forged in tough times and there is love. This is a human story and in humanity there is as much good as there is bad.

You won't regret reading this book, though it may trouble you. Much is talked about the horror of child abuse without the detail. Newspapers and television sanitise it by saying it is too horrible to tell. It should be told.
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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hard read, but worth every tear., May 20, 2011
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This review is from: Empty Chairs (Kindle Edition)
When I began reading Empty Chairs by Stacey Danson I was completely unprepared for what I would find. If it were a novel, I would have put it down. The matter-of-fact narration depicting extreme sexual exploitation of a small child by her mother turned my stomach. But Empty Chairs isn't a novel. It is Stacy Danson's life story. I read on through tears; my heart filled with horror, sympathy, and anger. But I read on.

In her superbly written auto-biography, the author unfolds a vision of hell that few can imagine, but is the life of far too many innocent children in our society. Stacy was beaten brutally and repeatedly. She was forced to service a stream of men who paid her mother - not occasionally, but every day. When her mother wasn't pleased with her performance Stacy was locked away in a dark closet where claustrophobia threatened her sanity. Stacy was only three.

Her earliest memories are of abuse. Stacy was only five when her mother sold her virginity to the highest bidder and she was brutally raped. The daily torment continued until Stacy, in an amazing act of defiance, at last said no and ran away. She had only been allowed to attend three years of school, between six and nine years old, and at eleven was alone on the harsh streets of Kings Cross in Sydney, Australia. But Stacy survived.

In her short time attending school she learned to read. Her love of reading, and her hunger for knowledge, has continued for over forty years, as is apparent in her masterful writing. Horrific details of her life are delivered in almost emotionless, matter-of-fact clarity, and her dark humor is equally dead-pan. Yes, I laughed at times, in a very somber way. But without that detachment and humor the story would be too tragic to read.

I am friends with the author on facebook, as I am with many fellow writers. We rarely interact, but I saw a post that her blog was nearing two-hundred followers and she was giving away copies of Empty Chairs once she reached two-hundred. I went to her blog and followed it. I was number two-hundred. She emailed the book and told me it was her auto-biography and might be hard to read. I never imagined. It was the hardest thing I have ever read. I can not possibly understand how hard it was to write.

Though I think this book should be read by every adult on the planet, I must warn you it is a glimpse into hell. Stacy carries the emotional and physical scars, some severe, to this day, but I am amazed she even survived. It is far more unfathomable that she grew into such a strong and beautiful human being, and equally wonderful writer. I am quite honored now to be on her friends list. But as she says, she didn't just survive, she choose to live, and she choose to speak out and shine a light into the dark corners of our world that most of us chose to ignore.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silent, September 3, 2011
By 
Hannah Warren "Hannah" (Zeeland, the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Empty Chairs (Kindle Edition)
Empty Chairs has made me silent deep down inside of me. I don't feel it necessary to retell the story as that has been done in many other comments. I only want to try and find the words that express how I feel after reading it within 24 hours. I was afraid to start, as I have my own story of child abuse but I'm glad I plucked up the courage. It has left me very silent inside and I have had only one recurring image that I'd like to share here:
I go over to Sydney and lay down a garland of flowers at the feet of that little girl and I bow to her, paying tribute to the child-girl inside of her.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book by a very strong woman., August 28, 2011
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This review is from: Empty Chairs (Kindle Edition)
I really, really enjoyed this book even though it made me cry more than once. I agree that the ending sneaks up on you, but only because the book is so enthralling, not because the book is lacking in any way. I don't agree with the reviewer who said that it lacks "a middle or an ending". The middle is an amazing tale of strength, courage a tenacity in the face of events so horrible that they are barely imaginable to most people. The ending is one of hope, and I agree that I would love for the author to tell us more, but I disagree that it is required of this book, which is a complete story of one part of the author's life in and of itself. I would love the author to pen a second book, continuing her story as I am thrilled that she survived such a horrifying start to life and went on to function in a healthy way in society and seemingly was able to begin to trust others as it sounds like she may have finally met up with people in her life who were worth trusting.

Although the editors have done a reasonable job, they missed some obvious errors such as the use of "wondered" instead of "wandered", "conception" in place of "concept" and "bought" instead of "brought". But these are minor annoyances which do not detract from the book at all as it is well written and flows very smoothly throughout.

Definitely worth the money and worth the time it takes to read, it is a moving and interesting account of a life which had an incredibly sad start.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book...but then what??, September 19, 2011
By 
Amazon Customer (Dundee, MI United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Empty Chairs (Kindle Edition)
I really liked this book but... it ended so abruptly that it had me wanting so much more. What became of Sassy? How long was she on the streets? And what happened after Jamie and his clan took her in. I immediately went back to Amazon to see if there was a sequel but to no avail. I can only hope one is in the works because I believe its a story worth telling.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Empty Chairs: Much more than a story about child abuse, January 22, 2011
This review is from: Empty Chairs (Kindle Edition)
If you're the victim of child abuse, know someone who is, or work with victims of child abuse, Stacy Danson's autobiographical account of the sexual abuse she endured at the hands of her mother from age three until she ran away at eleven is the book for you.

Empty Chairs is, as the subtitle says, "much more than a story about child abuse." It is about the resilience and triumph of a girl whose street name was "Sassy", who not only survived the horror of sexual abuse and her mother's sadism, but survived life on the streets of her native Sydney, Australia as a tough-as-nails, don't-take-no-crap runaway. At age of eleven, she made a mature decision about her life: "No one was ever going to force me to do anything again. Such are the thoughts of a child whose experience of the world started in hell."

Living on the streets at any age is no walk in the park; living on the streets as a young girl can be fatal. Stacy Danson learned its lessons quickly: Trust no one, stay out of the way of the pimps and other predators that prey on attractive girls, make yourself invisible. In spite of all the precautions, it doesn't always work, and didn't for Stacy. Key to her survival was running into a tightly-knit group of fourteen street kids who took her in, provided her a home, and protected her.

Why does she tell her story some forty years after her life on Sidney's streets ended? Simply put, it was time. "Recent events in my small world have caused me to think deeply about the responsibility I have, that we all have, to make people aware of what can and does happen in a home that may well be right next door to you."

In her case, the neighborhood was an upper middle class one where her abusers were respected members of the community. One of her steady abusers was a family physician. Another was a sadistic cop. If she cried, her mother beat her, sometimes viciously. Did anyone hear her screams? If they did, no one said a word. It ended at age eleven when she beat her mother up, stole her money, and left.

The central tragedy of childhood sexual abuse is the damage it does, physically and emotionally, to the victim. Here is what Ms. Danson says about it: "Physically and emotionally, everything that made me who and what I was was destroyed. But," she continues, "they never got my soul. They didn't break me. Something in me refuses to be broken. I don't know what the hell you call it, but it's strong. It burns inside me with a life force of its own."

"I firmly believe that everything that happened has helped to make me who I am, and I am kind of fond of who I am these days. It has taken half a century to get here, but here I am." Indeed, here she is: from an abused kid who trusted no one and wouldn't let anyone touch her, Stacy Danson has grown into a compassionate woman, loving mother and fine writer. I look forward to reading more from her.

Empty Chairs is available from amazon.com in Kindle and paperback editions. Buy your copy, read it and recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tough Read, August 25, 2011
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This review is from: Empty Chairs (Kindle Edition)
I was warned by the author that this would not be an easy book to read. I have to admit, even with the warning, I wasn't prepared for the raw brutality. It is an extremely well written story that exposes the worst depiction of child abuse that I have ever come across. I can't imagine reliving the trauma long enough to write about it. I am amazed at the courage of the author to expose the violence done to her with the intention of helping others. My wish is that her writing will aid in her own healing as well as enlighten those who cannot fathom that these acts even exist.

Regardless of the type of child abuse, the result is serious emotional harm. Lack of trust, feelings of worthlessness and trouble regulating emotions are generally the aftermath. It is heartbreaking that child abuse can go unreported even though there are apparent signs.

I am looking forward to the sequel, I know she will continue writing her story because there is so much more to tell. She just needs a moment to catch her breath. God Bless you, Stacy Danson

Venita Louise
Dead on the Money
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an important message, May 3, 2011
No one realizes that she exists, let alone that she is being abused and prostituted by her own mother. Who would believe her if she somehow tried to tell. But children grow up, and one day, she realizes she is big enough to stand up to her mother, and to get out for good. Will she make it on her own? Has a lifetime of abuse taught her how to survive on the streets?

This book is the epitome of intensity, and not for the faint of heart. Which is exactly why every single person who has even come in contact with a child in any capacity should read it. Children suffer this type of abuse every day, though many of us do not want to think about it.

Stacey Danson is incredibly brave, not only for enduring and surviving this abuse, but for choosing to share her story with the world. We cannot let her story go unheard; we cannot let more children be abused as she has been.

It is always difficult reading about children being harmed, and this book is no exception. This is an incredibly difficult book to read. You want to rebel against the wrongness of what Danson endured. But putting the book down will not make it any less real or true, nor will it make it any less likely to happen to other children. That is why it is so important for the reader to push through the discomfort, and seek the message at the end, seek the empowerment to spread the story and help other children.

Obviously, the themes we are working with here are tough. Abuse, child prostitution and rape, children living on the streets, and various other crimes. A book need not be pleasant to be a great book. And important books, such as this one, rarely are pleasant. But I beg of you, do not be deterred by your own comfort zone. Because this book, well, this book really needs to be read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an important message, May 3, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Empty Chairs (Kindle Edition)
No one realizes that she exists, let alone that she is being abused and prostituted by her own mother. Who would believe her if she somehow tried to tell. But children grow up, and one day, she realizes she is big enough to stand up to her mother, and to get out for good. Will she make it on her own? Has a lifetime of abuse taught her how to survive on the streets?

This book is the epitome of intensity, and not for the faint of heart. Which is exactly why every single person who has even come in contact with a child in any capacity should read it. Children suffer this type of abuse every day, though many of us do not want to think about it.

Stacey Danson is incredibly brave, not only for enduring and surviving this abuse, but for choosing to share her story with the world. We cannot let her story go unheard; we cannot let more children be abused as she has been.

It is always difficult reading about children being harmed, and this book is no exception. This is an incredibly difficult book to read. You want to rebel against the wrongness of what Danson endured. But putting the book down will not make it any less real or true, nor will it make it any less likely to happen to other children. That is why it is so important for the reader to push through the discomfort, and seek the message at the end, seek the empowerment to spread the story and help other children.

Obviously, the themes we are working with here are tough. Abuse, child prostitution and rape, children living on the streets, and various other crimes. A book need not be pleasant to be a great book. And important books, such as this one, rarely are pleasant. But I beg of you, do not be deterred by your own comfort zone. Because this book, well, this book really needs to be read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Honest, Moving and Inspiring Account of Abuse., March 27, 2011
By 
This review is from: Empty Chairs (Kindle Edition)
Empty Chairs, by Stacey Danson, is a remarkable piece of writing. This autobiographical insight into the early life of a girl subject to physical and sexual abuse is honest, frank and characterised by a refusal to hide unpleasant detail. That the abuse was initiated by her mother, who acted as her pimp, when Stacey was the tender age of 3, makes the revelations all the more horrific.
It is natural to expect that an account of this type would be driven by bitterness and revenge but the author manages to tell her story without undue hostility. And that, in itself, is an amazing feat. If ever a woman had just cause to resent the world into which she was born, Stacey Danson is that woman. But she simply lays out the facts; emotional, physical, mental, spiritual and rational. There are places where the text is almost too hard to read. I have been kept awake nights by some of her descriptions. This is, as you would expect, a difficult book to read. But I urge you to read it simply because it is hard.
The prose style is simple, yet eloquent. She writes pretty much as you would expect her to think and spares none of the expletives that, for her, have been an integral part of her upbringing. There is no attempt to deviate from the truth for effect, no attempt to embroider or exaggerate the facts. The simple truth is enough here, and Stacey has recognised that and allowed integrity to describe her experiences.
I am, by nature, an optimist and a lover of women in general. The experience of this book has caused me to question some of my beliefs about people more than any other work I've read; and I include such classics as All Quiet on the Western Front and A Town Like Alice as examples of man's inhumanity in this comparison.
Men and women, authorities and victims, the respected and the reviled, all feature in this book as adults. And all are shown as flawed, many of them seriously so. There are those who simply looked the other way and thus allowed the terrible abuse to continue. There are those who worked in trusted occupations and yet tormented and harmed the vulnerable child they should have been protecting. There are those who exploited, or wished to exploit, a girl who so distrusted people that even those who might have been her friends could not win her trust. And, in the end, it was the children, the other victims, who rescued her from what might otherwise have been a violent and untimely death.
There is no sentimentality, no attempt to rouse the reader's pity, in the words on these pages. What you get is the simple truth of a life damaged and abused. Yet, through it all, the spirit of the writer rises and grows to become aware of the greater world and, as the book ends, to begin to wonder if there are, after all, some good people in the world, after all.
Stacey wrote this account to alert the world to the reality of child abuse; to tell those complacent souls who blind themselves to facts, by blaming victims, that sometimes children have no choice; to educate those in authority about the reality of life on the streets for the abused. But she has achieved something more than that. She has made a work of such integrity that the reader emerges from the experience both wiser and more compassionate. And she has earned the unbounded admiration of this reader for telling it exactly as it is.
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Empty Chairs
Empty Chairs by Stacey Danson
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