Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Book Review: My Whispers of Horror: Letters Telling Women's True Tales from Ex-USSR Nations

My Whispers of Horror: Letters Telling Women's True Tales from Ex-USSR Nations

by Brine Books PublishingChris Brine (Editor), Olga Brine (Translator)

My rating: ****  (4/5)

Do not be afraid to pick up this book.

Like an unopened letter sitting on your table, the voices in this book are calling out. They aren't asking for much, just to be heard.

My Whispers of Horror is made up of a collection of letters written to "us," Westerners, by women in ex-USSR countries. The letters often revolve around a common theme: abusive, alcoholic husbands and the sexual, mental, and physical abuse endured by wives. These women's heartache is clear through the words on the page. Each letter tells a tale made even more tragic by the fact that they are true stories. They don't mince words. They don't glamorize the violence they have endured, nor do they make it more easy-to-swallow with flowery language. They speak frankly and with no regret: these are they lives they have lived. They have experienced more hardship than many of us could ever imagine. Yet their strength also shines through.

I give this book 4 stars because I believe it deals with an extremely important topic, but grammatical & editorial issues detract from the work as a whole. It is clear these letters are translated into English from another language, as occasionally awkwardly worded sentences and duplicate words pop up to distract the reader. The two forwards by the authors who collected the letters together and translated them are repetitive and difficult to get through. However, once you start reading the letters themselves, it feels like a curtain has been lifted allowing us to peer into another culture. Yes, the letters aren't written with flowing, pretty language, but to me it feels similar to speaking with someone whose first language is not English. The words aren't always the ones you would have chosen, but you clearly understand each other.

These are true stories and have all the impact of a heartfelt conversation with a new friend. The truly depressing fact is that we cannot write back and tell our sisters, "We have heard you. It may be too late to help you, you have been broken. But you are heard. You are a person. You are valuable. You are beautiful."

Perhaps this book will inspire you to reach out to someone in a horrible situation and tell them that you are there for them. Perhaps it will make you appreciate your own struggles and your own triumphs more. Perhaps it will open your eyes to the world a little bit wider. Do not be afraid. Open your heart. Pick up this book.

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers. I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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