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From the very start, Barbara Graham grabbed my attention and held it until the exquisitely profound conclusion--where she realizes, as a survivor of betrayed trust, stolen innocence, sexual abuse--what she needs to move on. Written in such a flowing, organic style that is loaded with insight and wisdom, this book displays the great heart of its author. And yet, this is not a book that wallows in tragedy or the rehashing of old pain. Instead, there is humor here; there are questions and searching and wildly funny passages as the adult author explores what-she-should-have-said back then and what-she-fantasizes-she-will-do now in the present. Along the way, she also conveys the facts on the prevalence of sexual abuse and rape in this country. This is a brave, smart, funny, important book.
This book opened up an entirely new concept for me around sexual abuse. The story is written so honestly and authentically. You can feel the experience of the author's loss of innocence and understand why this is such a confusing position for women who have been abused by other women...something rarely discussed, yet very real. A beautifully written book about a women's journey to claim her innocence and understand the toll it took on her entire adult life. Bravo to Barbara Graham for finding her way through to freedom and sharing it with us.
This is such wonderful and gripping writing that I'm joining in with one of my very rare five-star ratings. Besides being the most insightful piece I've read about how the sex abuser works, it's an intensely portrait of the confusion of the victim. I might argue with Graham about some of the cause and effects -- some of us exhibited similar bugaboos in adult life without having been sexually abused -- but I still consider it a must-read. I'm recommending it to my friends.
I just couldn't put this book down. Even though the story of her sexual abuse by a trusted camp counselor is apalling and scary, Barbara tells it with such soulful honesty and power. I rooted for her every step of the way as she navigated the painful and confusing complexity of her emotions to find her way to healing. Beautifully written. I highly recommend Camp Paradox to everyone who cares about their children -- and isn't that all of us?
Barbara Graham’s Camp Paradox vividly captures the breach of trust, confusion, and isolation of a classic sexual abuse victim. This portrayal of herself as a vulnerable adolescent girl who is groomed for exploitation by an older trusted adult counselor is spot on. Barbara lived it and survived it. Now we are privileged to hear her warm and wise voice. I will use this memoir as bibliotherapy in my psychotherapy practice.
Betty Wood, LCSW Former Director of the Childhood Trauma Program Family Service Agency of Marin
Barbara Graham's account of her complicated abusive relationship with her camp counselor was riveting! The right writing was clear and jolting - very powerful. And the writer has clearly done her homework. The piece isn't about blaming, but one woman's journey to understand the events, their aftermath, and make decisions that allow her to forgive herself. Camp Paradox transcends the abuse genre. It's a god(dess)-send to anyone trying understand trauma in their own lives.
As I have written about every Shebook I have read, this one is so well written and edited. In addition, it tackles the really important topic of how sexual predators groom their targets, and explains the process so that anyone can understand how young people become ensnared, and often feel that they contributed to their abuse, leaving them feeling hopeless and as if there is no way out. This book really shows how predators completely believe that they are involved in consensual sexual relationships.
Barbara Graham's lucid-yet-dreamlike recollections of childhood abuse at the hands of a camp counselor will leave you wanting to wrap her in your arms (after first throttling the perpetrator). A terrifically fast read that nevertheless embraces a lifetime of confusion, regret and ultimate deliverance.