cover image The Incest Diary

The Incest Diary

Anonymous. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $18 (144p) ISBN 978-0-374-17555-9

An anonymous author reveals a lifetime of secrets in this unforgettable memoir as she tells the story of her relationship with her father, who raped her over the course of her childhood, until the author was 21. The result is one of the most frank and cathartic depictions of child abuse ever written. The author recalls abusing her Barbie dolls, her sense of being the %E2%80%9Cother woman%E2%80%9D to her own mother, and the mingling of violence with desire, a tendency so crucial to the author%E2%80%99s development that it continues to govern her adult relationships. This is not a story of things getting better, but an unflinching and staggeringly artful portrait of a shattered life. %E2%80%9CSex with my father made me an orphan,%E2%80%9D she writes, and the feeling is underscored, pages later, with a fact: %E2%80%9CHe threatened to kill himself if I told anyone.%E2%80%9D Works of art by Fernando Botero and Frida Kahlo are invoked throughout, as are the fairy tales in which the author searches for analogues to explain her condition. But by the end of the book, she has articulated an experience that for many victims remains unspeakable. (July)