Today I feel very honoured to be on the blog tour for Unbroken by Madeleine Black. Thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite. I already owned a copy of the book.
BLURB For many years after that night, my memories of what happened after he held the blade to my throat and threatened my life were fragmented… difficult to piece together. It was too extreme, too violent for me to understand.
Violently gang-raped when she was thirteen years old, and raped three more times before the age of eighteen, Madeleine has experienced more trauma in her life than most ever will.
Living in a state of shock and self-loathing, it took her years of struggle to confront the buried memories of that first attack and begin to undo the damage it wrought, as men continued to take advantage of her fragility in the worst possible way.
Yet, after growing up with a burden no teenager should ever have to shoulder, she found the heart to carry out the best revenge plan of all: leading a fulfilling and happy life. But the road to piecing her life back together was long and painful. For Madeleine, forgiveness was the key. True forgiveness takes genuine effort. It takes a real desire to understand those who have done us so much harm. It is the ultimate act of courage.
In Unbroken, Madeleine tells her deeply moving and empowering story, as she discovers that life is about how a person chooses to recover from adversity. We are not defined by what knocks us down – we are defined by how we get back up.
I should probably start with a warning to say that this can be a tough book to read at times. Thankfully the author pauses her narrative to give a warning before her very detailed description of her gang rape at the age of 13. I felt I owed it to both Madeleine and myself to read what she had written so I could develop more of an understanding of why her journey following this attack had continued the way it had. But don’t worry if you feel you can’t as there is a high probability that anyone reading this book will have suffered a similar attack and the last thing I want is for that person to NOT read this book because of that content. So be assured there is a detailed and explanatory message before the intricate details are revealed.
I think any woman will recognise the teenage Madeleine and probably say “that could have been me”. As teenagers we take risks it’s how we learn and become our adult self of the future. But it shouldn’t matter as we should always be safe no matter what route we take through those teenage years. I identified with the teenage Madeleine and then went on to relate very easily to the adult she became. Her journey isn’t an easy one but along the way there are relationships formed and re-evaluated and every step leads to the place she mentally resides today. I am in awe of how far she has come and the last few chapters I found to be very moving indeed.
This can’t have been an easy book to write but it’s an important one and one I felt humbled to read, becoming part of Madeleines story just by letting her words become a part of who I was and am now. The theme of forgiveness can be a difficult one to understand for some people but hopefully everyone who reads this will be able to take away an understanding of why it is so important to self healing. Madeleine Black is an author able to evoke that understanding through her experiences and her reactions to them whilst still remaining a relatable and likeable presence throughout Unbroken.
A chilling but ultimately uplifting memoir that everyone should read.
The sharing of her story on The Forgiveness Project’s website in September 2014, opened many doors for Madeleine in ways she never imagined and the invitations started to pour in.
She has taken part in both TV and radio interviews and has been invited to share her story at conferences, events and schools.
She recognises that she was a victim of a crime that left her silent for many years, but has now found her voice and intends to use it. Not just for her, but for so many who can’t find theirs yet.
She is married and lives in Glasgow with her husband, three daughters, her cat, Suki, and dog, Alfie.
For more info please see her website madeleineblack.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @madblack65