Promise Not To Tell
... Recommended ... 4 stars
What this book is NOT is a feel
good glance back at a happy childhood. What this book is is one
woman's attempt to make sense out of the chaos of her life.
Brenda Weber's book of childhood
abuse and adult life filled with poor choices, mental anguish
and heartache is not an easy one to read. To know that I Promise
Not To Tell is autobiographical makes it all the more difficult.
While on a date at age sixteen with a boy Weber calls Luke repressed
memory of childhood molestation complete with a promise not to
tell surfaces. It is then that Weber begins her long tortuous
road from abused to woman who is taking charge of her own life.
Weber's tale of a shy, quiet,
friendless child attending parochial school who was often left
out of recess games by her peers, received beatings at the hands
of her instructors and was too often left unsupervised is told
in straight forward fashion. The bluntness of the work is what
keeps the reader turning the pages of this gripping at times
With the death of Weber's mother
when Weber is nine her father remarries to a woman who was herself
in an abusive first marriage. Weber begins to realize she is
not alone when she learns her step-sister too has been molested.
Weber's father was a man who worked hard to support his family,
was given to harsh discipline and apparently little close parental
contact with his children. During her childhood Weber remembers
many instances of sexual play with peers, and when she is older
of allowing herself to enter into dangerous situations and experimentation
with drugs and alcohol.
A broken engagement, out of wedlock
pregnancy and fear of being unloved an alone drive Weber from
one abusive situation to another. Broken marriages, four children,
learning that her own mother was molested as a girl and Weber
at last begins to come to grips with the cycle she is desperate
to break in her own life. A counselor tells her that molested
girls often end up in multiple divorce filled relationships while
molested boys often become abusers themselves.
"I Promise Not To Tell"
is not for everyone, graphic descriptions and graphic language
will turn some readers away, however both were a large part for
most of Weber's life. The work is aimed at a target audience
of other abused women who may need a boost to extricate themselves
from the situation in which they find themselves. It can serve
as well as a goad to parents to who do not give their children
enough supervision to really know what the kids are doing, when,
where, and with whom. Weber first thought the sexual explorative
play in which she often found herself a party during childhood
was normal and something all children did. And some is, however
the prolonged, ongoing sexual activity as a young child became
something Weber later began to feel proved she was 'bad' and
was something she had to atone for. Abusive relationships were
the predictable outcome of that guilt.
Sure to find a home in the counselor
library and with the target audience "I Promise Not To Tell"
is a book meant to aid other women as they too break free from
a lifetime of abuse.