Being Mean

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A book review of Being Mean: a Memoir of Sexual Abuse and Survival by Patricia Eagle

A book review of Being Mean: a Memoir of Sexual Abuse and Survival by Patricia EagleStars: *****

She Writes Press (2019)
Memoir/Abuse
376 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: In this richly depicted story, told in vignettes relative to markers of age and experience, Patricia Eagle reveals the heartbreak and destruction of her sexual abuse, from age four to thirteen, by her father. A victim of her father’s anger and her mother’s complacency with his abusive behavior, Eagle uses dissociation and numbing in response to the abuse, and as a way to block her own sense of self.

How does a child confused by episodes of abuse come to know what is safe or unsafe, right or wrong, normal or abnormal? How does a young woman learn the difference between real love and a desire for sexual pleasure stimulated by abusive childhood sexual experiences? Careening through life, Eagle wonders how to trust others and, most importantly, herself. As a mature woman struggling to understand and live with her past, she remains earnest in her pursuit of clarity, compassion, and trust to build a stronger life.

Being Mean is about blocking sexual abuse memories, having them surface, then learning how to acknowledge and live with incomprehensible experiences in the healthiest ways possible.

Being Mean

I’ve read a lot of memoirs about abuse. I don’t know why I’m drawn to them so much as I wasn’t abused. It seems like all of the ones I’ve read have been captivating to read. It must be because they are so honest, raw, and shocking. This was the same, yet different because the circumstances surrounding the author’s life and abuse, are different. Every story of growing up with abuse is different of course.

Although it is a memoir of sexual abuse, that is not what the whole book is about. It is a memoir of her life. Also it is important to note that she repressed the abuse memoirs until adulthood. So she didn’t remember everything in the order it is printed in the book but it makes more sense to read it that way. Reading her life this way, I can see behaviours and thoughts that she experienced that were from the abuse but that she didn’t know were from the abuse at first because she didn’t remember it.

If you are wondering, as was I, why the title is Being Mean I’ll tell you. Being Mean is her mother’s words for masturbation and later for what happened between her dad and her. It has nothing to do with bullying as I thought it might.

The author went through a lot but she seems to be doing well now considering. I am glad she shared her life, it must have been very hard to open up.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.

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