Empty Chairs Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
We lean into the action as depicted through the eyes of eleven-year-old Stacy. We suffer every night and rejoice each new day that the eleven-year -old is still alive.
Just by virtue of the subject matter, this was a hard story for Ms. Danson to write, and it is equally hard for us to read. Several scenes are not for the faint of heart. Known on the streets as “Sassy Girl”, Stacy lives up to that name and it’s that sassiness which helps her to survive and it’s what endears her to the reader.
The book’s pacing is good and the ‘Kings Cross’ characters that she interacts with are well drawn and ring true. The conclusion of Empty Chairs is somewhat abrupt (thus the 4.5 stars), but it leaves us hopeful that Stacey will find her way out.
I had to give it 4 stars because there were too many misspelled words and the ending was too abrupt for my liking. I did appreciate the author's explanation but wished she had finished the story before publishing it.
Thank you, Suzanne for sharing your story. Hopefully it will help others.