“Clipped Wings – Hear Some Stories of Survival” Book Review

Clipped Wings – Hear Some Stories of Survival by Jennifer Gilmour

I was fortunate to be a given a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.

 

“Our wings were clipped, our restrictions were made, our boundaries were tested but now we are free, aren’t we?

We look above in the sky at the birds and hope to be free.  But the birds make their nests in the trees high above, to protect themselves from predators.  Free birds must keep looking over their shoulders the same way all of us have to.”

As we reflect upon another year and celebrate the beginning of a new one, I want to share a slightly different book review with you.

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Jennifer Gilmour is a young mum, entrepreneur, wife and author.  Her first novel “Isolation Junction” was published in 2016 and during the course of her research and publicity surrounding the novel, she reached out and received accounts from people identifying with the novel and wanting to share their experiences.  The subject matter of the novel, Jennifer’s own story and the accounts shared with her – domestic abuse.  In Clipped Wings, Jennifer shares her own story and those of various victims of domestic abuse – all who have become survivors and share their stories in their own words.

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I find that I can’t review this book as I would any other, and I must tell you that I haven’t read the novel Isolation Junction”.  However, this is no reason to prevent anyone from reading this enlightening and deeply moving book.  Ms Gilmour introduces the book and then tells her own story of domestic abuse, before relaying the stories of other people.  Her writing is such that I was able to identify with each individual from Jennifer to Jodi to Michael to Wanda (25 in total) and hear their voices reaching out from the paper telling their own tales.  I believe that like many things in life, there may be a stereotypical public perception of domestic abuse – how the abuser and the abused “look”.

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These accounts will change that for you – I learnt so much.   Not every abusive relationship is borne out of immediate control and violence – some begin with tenderness or passion.  Not every abuser is a man – whilst still a taboo, the abused man is now recognised but often reviled by society if his abuser is a woman.  But read Michael’s story and you will see that relationships are not black and white, but revolve around a series of emotions that vary in shades of grey.  Domestic abuse is not always between a couple, as Lauren recounts with a story of abuse starting at the age of 10 from a close male relative.  One experience that I had as a hospice nurse was the realisation that a 23 year old female patient had been abused by her brother – a drug addict and alcoholic.  My patient was now dying, but her young daughter was in the care of this man – the child’s uncle.  The little girl already had bruises but when cigarette burns started to appear on her arms, we knew that we had to do something – but this was probably one of the hardest decisions as the child’s mother lay dying and she was taken from her one relative.  I have never forgotten.

This is not an easy read and at times is emotionally draining.  But I kept reminding myself that this is nothing compared to the actual experiences of those involved, and how it must have felt to re-live every moment to commit these experiences to paper.  The majority of us have never experienced this abuse, but 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.  I do wonder if the men and women currently in abusive relationships will be the ones who can be reached with this book; but there can be no doubt that the more people who can gain some insight and maybe understanding into a victim’s perspective, the easier it becomes to discuss and for victims to understand that what they are going through, physically and emotionally, is not acceptable.

A long review – no apology for such an important topic.  I have bought the novel and intend to share this also.  Please put aside any preconceived ideas, accept the challenge of this read, and help to spread the message within it.  I would probably never have read this normally, but I cannot recommend it enough and suggest a box of tissues to go with it.

Thanks to Jennifer Gilmour and every participant. All images from Ms Gilmour’s site or Google images.

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