Bullets: Growing Up in the Crossfire
Review by Molly
The writer says,"The essays in this book detail true life experiences." The first article is entitled "Induced Labor" in which the author details how in October 1964 her seven and a half months pregnant mother faced bearing her second child. The first delivered at age fifteen had been hidden from her family during pregnancy, delivered in silence in the basement of the family home and had been put out for adoption. On 11 October 1964 the Author's mother was again pregnant, this time forced into a marriage and was wondering what life was likely to hold for either her child or herself. Hibbard describes her father as a madman fueled by alcohol, manic depressive behavior and was himself the product of a dysfunctional home.
Subsequent essay titles include "No Kathleen, There Isn't a Santa Claus," in which she shares Christmas in "the Pleasant Place" - the apartment upstairs and gets a Barbie doll. And learns at age four that there is no Santa. " ~The Basement" recounts a move from the basement apartment where the family had lived to the home of Kathleen's relatives. "No Daddy, Don't Go" tells the time when the writer's father declared he would leave to be with someone who would make his world right. "He came back the next day and restored the instability that wheezed life into our family." "She Looks Funny, Let's Throw Glass At Her" details the writer's academic beginnings. It was not a good experience. "Why Do You Have Grass In Your Living Room" and another round of defeat are presented in stark clarity. "Bullets" - five guns in the house and bullet holes in furniture and books were part of the writer's childhood. "You Look Like You Need a Friend" and "On Second Thought" reveals the writer's desperation as she tries to fit in with seventh grade society. "The Long and Winding Road" finds the writer moved to a new school, graduating from eighth grade and having to drive her family home from the graduation party - mom took her parents home and dad was too drunk. "Follow in the Footsteps" and "Protractor" offer the writer's descent into what was her Freshman year of high school. "School's Out", "Could You Hold Onto This For Me" chronicle the writer's leaving school and facing disillusionment at the hands of her therapist. "Barbershop Guy" led to a meeting with a modeling agent who offered the chance of big bucks for escort service in addition to modeling. "The Banker" the author goes on her first actual date. "Escape" the ravages of liquor take their toll on the writer's father, however the writer finally begins to see a way out of the chaos. "Excuse Me But Isn't That Your Dad" the writer reveals how her father's psychotic behavior begins catching up with him. "Looks Like We Made It" and the Epilogue lead us to the writer beginning her healing with help of a therapist who adhered to professional standards.
Kat Hibbard's chaotic childhood was never one of constancy other than abuse and never being to trust people or situations. The writer says she was taught to lock away both feeling and thought at an early age. The product of a dependent mother and an abusive, alcoholic father Kat Hibbard experienced a childhood that certainly cannot be thought of as typical. She says in her epilogue "victims of abuse either break or repeat the cycle" she chose to break the cycle.
Hibbard describes events we consider to be typical for most of us; Christmas festivities, going to school, relationships and dating with stark honesty. Hibbard's razor-sharp chronicle speaks as encouragement for those in comparable situations to set the goal and leave the past behind.
Bullets: Growing Up in The Crossfire is a piercing glimpse into the life lived by an abused child in a dysfunctional home peopled by parents who should never have had children, and children who must learn to live in spite of those parents.
This is not a fun little read for a warm fuzzy afternoon, Bullets: Growing Up in The Crossfire is a difficult read as the reader is drawn into the panic, depravity and despair of a little girl who wants to be loved and cared for more than anything else in the world. The systematic destroying of all childhood, childhood dreams and hopes and self esteem it NOT easy to read; it has to be much more difficult to live. I would recommend writer Hibbard's book for high school and adult readers. The work is a must have for the school counselor as well as the family therapist as they work to guide students and clients into the "normal" world and out of the gloom of their home existence/past.
The author is to be commended for facing her demons squarely, and then setting down in plain, unvarnished detail the life she lived as opposed to the one she has today as a loving parent, children's advocate and woman who is much stronger than she realized she was. I plan to take my review copy to school to offer to our school counselor for use as our counselor encourages students who may be hurting much as writer Hibbard hurt for so long. Happy to recommend for the personal reading list, the school and public library, school counselor and therapist book collections for lending to clients and as a self help work.
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These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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