Summary from Amazon.com
“Trauma from the past becomes a part of who you are. It weighs down on the present, suffocating life and preventing you from healing and moving on. If you continue to carry this baggage around long enough, you will eventually become who you are not. Believe in the essential goodness of your true self, however, and you will accept the past, but let go of the burden and finally become the real you. This is the story of one man’s struggle to accept the past and move on before it destroys everything he is and could ever hope to be. In desperation Gerry flees society to save his sanity and ends up in the remote villages of East Africa. Midst the poverty, he encounters hope and more love than he could imagine. Will it be enough to save him? Can he repair the damage done to him in his childhood or will his abusers win in the end?”
There’s trauma in every one’s life, it defines who we are as people, it shapes who we will become and how we react to every situation presented to us – for some that trauma is relatively minor (like an across state-line move in the middle of your formative school years) or major (like child abuse, and neglect) and in the end-it’s all a matter of how you react to those minor and major traumas that will define you as a person. Having never personally had any major life trauma, some minor traumas of bullying in school, I cannot relate to those who have suffered major traumas on any level, I can be sympathetic, but not empathetic. Luckily I came from a solid foundation with loving-supportive parents who told me to ignore the bully’s and they will eventually go away – to which they did leave me be, we never become best buds, but I got left alone – and sink back into their holes. Unlike those unlucky ones who suffer major traumas that require years of therapy and healing I was able to move on easily once I graduated high school.
For Gerry Freeman the trauma of being viewed as a devil child who is just plain evil was formative to the person he became as a young adult. He separated himself from all relationships before they become semi-permanent because he learned early on that those relationships can become toxic and abusive should those people learn his true identity – or at least the identity he was told all of his life he had. So instead of forming bonding relationships with people, he instead chose to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs bonding himself to the power of those vs. the people around him who might become close. In order to try and overcome this constant push and pull process he decides to immerse himself in a culture otherwise unknown and mysterious to the world as a whole, on a whim he decides to travel to Africa in hopes of healing himself.
I found I had a push and pull relationship with this novel simply because from one side I could see where Gerry aka Freeman was coming from, however, I found it hard to get into the book. The story line read like a travel brochure at first and then as the memoir it is…honestly while I enjoyed reading about the interior of Africa with the simplicity of the lives of the people Gerry interacted with and the gorgeous realm of the world he inhabited, I could not help but wonder how the travels connected to his separating and healing himself from his past. I found the ending to be abrupt and left me wondering what came of Gerry, did he heal? Was he able to move forward with his life and let go of his past?
Four out of Five Stars for Kill Daddy**I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review**
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