Wounds of the Father - Elizabeth Garrison
It is always difficult to read stories of abuse. I usually struggle to get through the books and end up skipping sections and chapters. For that reason, I was nervous to begin reading this book. Having a two year old of my own, any stories that include child abuse leave me nauseous and in tears.
However, Garrison tells the story in such a way that even though your heart is hurting for her, you can see a light at the end of the tunnel. The fact that it's a memoir, made me optimistic that the powerful message would be worth the difficult journey. And it was/is.
The book is well written and includes a powerful message that everyone can relate to - regardless of their past experiences. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. Garrison conjures some powerful imagery.
A highly worthy read, even if you think you may find the story irrelevant to your life. It's positive message of perseverance and overcoming the odds is one that we should all take to heart.
Some Bio Information
Elizabeth Garrison has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and works as a researcher for the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. Her research focuses on the effects of childhood abuse and developing interventions to help children recover. She also is a well-known celebrity ghost-writer. Given her talent in helping others to tell their stories, Garrison decided it was time to tell her own story. Visit her at www.elizabethgarrison.info.
1. What made you decide to put your story into book form?
Initially, I did it to help me make sense of all of the holes in my memory and blank spaces in my life from drug use and abuse. I was reading through pages of old journals I’d kept (including one that was tucked away in my seat when I lived in my car) and as I was reading, I started writing. I didn’t start writing my story with the intention to share it with the world, however, as time went on, I realized that people could benefit from hearing my story.
2. What would you like your readers to take away from your work?
First, your labels don’t define you. I can’t count the number of labels that have been attached to me. I've been diagnosed with everything from schizophrenia to mild mental retardation. None of these things are true and none of these things are my experience. You are not who people say you are. Period.
Second, don’t ever give up. The only thing that separates me from all the other people who didn't make it out of the darkness is that I didn't quit. I kept going no matter what. It’s the thing that will separate you from those who don’t make it. The line dividing the successful from the unsuccessful is not based on any hidden factor or secret formula other than the refusal to quit. Successful people have had just as many failures as the unsuccessful, they just kept going until they got where they wanted to be. All you have to do is keep moving forward and you will too.
3. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
I have a notebook that I am constantly scribbling in throughout the day. I don’t have time to sit and write during the day because I’m juggling a career, a second grader, and a marriage. I don’t have the time to sit down and write until the evening once everyone is in bed. This is the time I can pull out my computer and refer to the frantic notes of things I noted to write about during the day. I’d love to have more time to write.
4. How long did it take you to write your work?
It took me two years to go through my journals. Putting together the notes I’d written into a narrative that others could read took an additional year.
5. How would you describe your writing style?
I don’t know if this will make sense, but I write how people think. I think one of the reasons people can relate to my book so well is because it gives you an inside look into the mind of an addict and a child who has been abused, but doesn’t realize what’s happened to her constitutes abuse.
6. What’s the great piece of advice you can give to your readers?
To learn from their mistakes. I wish I could say that I've done things perfectly, but I haven’t. Nobody does. The one constant in life is that we will all make mistakes, but some of my biggest mistakes have been my greatest teachers. They can be yours too.
7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?
I’m moving into writing psychological thrillers that blur the lines between fiction and non-fiction given my own life experiences as well as the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with. I’d love to write the next gripping page turner in psychological thrillers