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Crawling Out of My Skin Paperback – April 1, 2002
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Little wonder. With memories of sucker-punch acknowledgements from 'Dad', witnessing his mother being repeatedly raped, and experiencing the personal attention of a pedophile called "Uncle Harold".
Imagine all that happening before your first day of school!
While Alton is brutally honest, there is a surreal, detached quality to his story telling.
"I don't remember much about my folks being married. What I do remember is the noise, the sound of flesh on flesh, of bruises rising, of bones breaking. Violence is its own language, vague and confusing, but a language all the same. Just because I hit you does not mean I don't like you, that I don't love you." Page 16
Crawling Out of My Skin showcases Alton's refreshing new voice in the angst-ridden memoir genre. Frankly I'm tired of reading cheap, psycho-babble analysis-filled memoirs of life with daddy. Don't tell me how I should view your experience. As Frank "Angela's Ashes" McCourt recently said, "Just tell the damned story!"
Alton does. And how! Drug addiction, turning tricks for booze and cigarettes, lock-up visits to mental institutions, sex, abortion, death. This memoir is chock full of the degradation too many victims experience and few in our society comprehend and understand.
I hope Crawling Out of My Skin will be read by educators, social workers, law enforcement, politicians -- all people who are faced with a current generation of Alton-like victims.
I have read many books on dysfunctional, abusive families, but I have never read such a naked, fierce and honest depiction:
"When I was done, I fell over, panting and gasping. Nothing like hurling to wear a body out. I knew I should get up. I knew that if the cops brought me home again, Momma was going to s*@t three colors...I was so tired and so comfortable that even the smell of vomit and dust didn't bother me any. So I lay there a while watching the red and green ghosts, the sunlight painted on the inside of my eyelids and listened to the dull buzz exhaustion makes when you finally get a chance to stop moving." Page 58.
This memoir is as raw as Alton is streetsmart. I couldn't put it down. Readers will be happy to know, Alton is currently working as a teacher and living with his wife and three sons in Portland, Oregon. They will also count their blessings that they never had to live a day in William Alton's shoes.