- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: HCI (April 2, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0757317413
- ISBN-13: 978-0757317415
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,523,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Girl in the Water: A True Story of Sibling Abuse Paperback – April 2, 2013
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"In her harrowing memoir, Kilgore recounts the story of abuse at her older sister's hands. Tortured physically and mentally for years, Kilgore was forced to verbally degrade herself before entering her own bedroom and threatened with death if she told. This book deals with the mostly unknown phenomenon of sibling abuse. Kilgore not only shares her own tale, she also tells the stories of others like herself who have lived in fear and shame for years."
―Rosemary Smith, NetGalley
"This book breaks new ground in exposing the author's terrible experiences, how her home was turned into a prison, and the lasting effects of bullying and sibling abuse. The result is a powerful testimonial highly recommended for any health collection strong in family interactions."
―California Book Watch
About the Author
Nancy Fox-Kilgore, MS, received her Master's Degree from the University of Oregon and B.A. and Teaching Credentials from the University of California/Sacramento. A frequent speaker and a university continuing education teacher, she specializes in PTSD and various forms of family abuse. She wrote Every Eighteen Seconds and The Source Book for Working with Battered Women, both of which serve as national models for battered women's shelters, agencies, and university studies, and for continuing education certification for police officers, psychologists, and social workers. Visit her web site at: hope4siblings.com
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Top Customer Reviews
While its focus is on the psychological damage caused by sibling abuse, and on a larger scale, how sibling abuse fosters bullying both inside and outside the home, both very emotional, important, and rather "hot" topics today, Nancy Kilgore does more than just write a story and provide some disturbing statistics designed to stir the reader and society to action.
GIRL IN THE WATER is also an evocative, metaphor-loaded journey through the mind of a young victim of sibling abuse that occasionally borders on poetry and the metaphysical. As such, it requires careful, slow reading to fully understand the pain and suffering that child experiences, how she has internalized her abuse and how she is often transported into a world beyond the cruel, physical world in which she lives with her horribly abusive older sister, her nearly non-existent two younger sisters, her mostly absent father, and her Partridge family mother.
Some readers will find these mental forays interfering with the pace of the book. I occasionally did. But Nancy brings us back to earth with a thud time and time again, and what we see in her world is far from pretty. Her mom is lovely but remote and completely oblivious to what is really taking place in the bedroom Nancy shares with Sherry, the older sister. Sherry, in my mind, is a monster, jealous of Nancy's high IQ and coveted spot as her father's favourite, and goes out of her way to make Nancy believe she is stupid, doesn't belong in their family, and will never amount to anything. Not only is she incredibly mentally abusive and manipulative, she is physically abusive too: she sticks pins under Nancy's fingernails and laughs as they bleed; she duct-tapes her eyes open and leaves her staring at the sky while tied in a chair; and she even comes close to suffocating Nancy with a pillow, coaxing her younger sisters to join in on the "fun." And all the while, like some kind of evil mastermind, Sherry warns Nancy not to tell for fear of her life. Sadly, the non-aggressive, gentle Nancy takes it all and keeps silent about what goes on in that bedroom.
She does try to tell her mother a couple of times, but mom doesn't want to hear it. Her daughters don't behave that way. Her daughters are good girls who love and care for each other and Sherry, being the older sister, is to be listened to and obeyed. Nancy doesn't have a chance!
I found it heartbreaking to see how young Nancy, who worshipped and loved being with her older sister was slowly destroyed by her. Nancy captures that childish innocence so beautifully. It's very, very touching and that much more disturbing when the abusive Sherry emerges.
This story is not fiction. What Nancy shares with us is her own past, a past that caused her much mental anguish and saw her needing years of therapy. Sadly, when the truth emerged, Sherry denied all of it and Nancy's mom could say little more than "I'm sorry". It was also interesting to sense how even Nancy's father, who loved Nancy best of all, actually contributed to making Sherry abusive by comparing the two girls, pointing out how yes, Nancy had the higher IQ but Sherry was prettier. How many times do parents make such off-the-cuff comparisons that adults soon forget but in Sherry's case, festered into hatred of her sister? As a parent, it would make me think twice before I comment!
Nancy Kilgore has come a long, long way from the intimidated and overwhelmed child we came to know throughout GIRL IN THE WATER. It is remarkable what she has been able to achieve when all the odds were stacked against her by the abuse in her life. She is a wonderful example of how therapy can help when nothing else does if a person commits to rising above the past in the belief she was born for something better. And Nancy certainly was. Today, she is a speaker specializing in PTSD and family abuse, and has written 2 other books. In speaking with her, I can sense her passion and dedication to spreading the word about the terrible effects of sibling abuse which is far worse than most people realize. I used to wish I wasn't an only child. After reading GIRL IN THE WATER, I'm glad I was!
This is an important book and if you are amongst the many who deplore the cyber and other bullying we see in the world today, if you are incensed when you hear of youngsters committing suicide as a result of bullying, you need to read this book and tell others about it. Nancy Kilgore contends that bullying begins with sibling and family abuse in the home and GIRL IN THE WATER makes a solid case for that.
The only thing that bothered me is that I felt that there was no resolution to the book. I know Nancy grew up and went on to get her MS and works with domestic violence survivors but what I wanted to know was what happened with the relationship with her sister? Do they speak anymore? Does her sister have any communication with her? Was she angry about the book and the way it portrayed her? Did Nancy take any legal action to protect herself from her sister when she grew up? Sibling abuse does not stop suddenly if the hatred runs that deep. There needs to be a follow up book to this one.