- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Seal Press (September 11, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1580054161
- ISBN-13: 978-1580054164
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small Paperback – September 11, 2012
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About the Author
Ferris serves on the Executive Board of Directors at Pages & Places Literary Festival in Scranton, PA, Peters Valley Arts, and the Education and Craft Center, and serves on the Advisory Board of The Women's Media Center. She is on faculty at The San Miguel de Allende Writers' Festival, and is a visiting teacher at UCLA (extension). Her number one goal, desire, and dream is for ALL women to awaken to their greatness, their beauty, and their power.
Hollye Dexter is a blogger and essayist, and the author of two memoirs. Her stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Answered Prayers and Character Consciousness, as well as online at Fem2pt0, The Next Family, The Shape of A Mother, and BackPage magazine. She writes regularly for iPinion Syndicate and AOL Patch News.
Dexter is a singer/songwriter with four albums out, and for the past decade has run workshops for teens in foster care through her award-winning nonprofit organization Art and Soul. In 2007 she was given the Agape Spirit award by Dr. Michael Beckwith (from The Secret) for her work with at-risk youth. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.
Top customer reviews
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Some of the stories in the book were dramatic, even tragic. But with some, my reaction was: "Really? The author felt ashamed about that?" It wasn't her fault, or it wasn't that big of a deal. Then it hit me -- the stories that keep us small aren't always dramatic, or even all that shameful, by some conventional gauge. Much of the harm comes from what we conclude about ourselves from an experience, and that's where we have the power to reframe. Many memories, some recent, some very old, came back as I read this book. I saw where I'd developed a measure of shame and still carried that with me. I had the opportunity to re-think, or forgive myself, or just get clear that the shame wasn't productive.
I kept thinking of the metaphor of exposing something dank and moldy to the sunshine. Reading this book gives you the courage to inquire into your own stories that "keep you small" and teaches you how to wield the light to clean up the dark and moldy places in your psyche. Liberating!
Dancing at the Shame Prom is 27 different essays written by different women with different experiences all with dramatic impact in their lives. All the stories dealt with shame and the effect of keeping the events hidden from the world. The effort it took these women to keep such a secret is mind boggling. The effort it took to reveal their shame to the world, even greater.
I have to admit I found this book very depressing, stories so sad and gut wrenching, I almost gave up on it for good. And anyone who knows my love of books, knows it takes a lot for me to stop in the middle of a book and put it away forever. I didn't do that here either and I'm pretty sure I came out the other side better for it.
There are stories of abuse at the hands of men, fathers, relatives, lovers. Stories of the shame of growing up filthy and poor often occurs when alcohol is at the center of family life. Playmates can never come over for a visit for fear of the secret being uncovered. The list goes on and on. And while the stories were painful to read, they are stories we need to know. The shame can only end when we stand up and help others keep their heads held high.
Having spent a good deal of these last 15 years of my life dismantling and disarming my own burden of shame, I know what a "thief in the night", shame really can be. These wonderful and exceptional stories of trials and triumphs are lanterns in the darkness for those trying to find their way. Five stars are far too few for a book such as this. Send copies to your friends, I have. You can rise up and take back what's been taken from you and one should ever have to dance at the Shame Prom...I never, ever will again.
The stories are powerful. Many tell of abuse so severe that I wondered how these women cold talk about it at all. Some are silly. Some deal with issues that, for me, did not seem shameful. Each story is intensely personal and honest. This is a book to read and reread and share. What's your shame? Can you name it and move on?
As an experience that connects each one of us, that makes us vitally alive, vulnerable, and even adds meaning to
our lives, it is still rather taboo, and, well... shameful to discuss. The stories in this book breathe life into a typically
silenced topic in a way that is actually joy filled. Not that the stories are all full of joy, but they are all filled with triumph.
I particularly relate to the stories that include experience of sexual trauma and incest as that is my personal experience, but
even the stories that are about death, divorce, and being kicked out of a summer camp (none of which are experiences that
have deeply impacted my personal world) brought me deeper into my own fragile humanity. I could see a little piece of myself
in every one of these stories, and in experiencing that, my own tiny little universe expanded into something far more beautiful.
Thank you Amy and Hollye, and all of the contributing writers, for your brave, bold, breathtaking work.