Victims Make the Best Birdhouses


Franklin recounts his childhood abuse and his path to recovery.

Franklin, whose last book was The Black River (2020), repressed memories of his difficult youth until his mother revealed that his father never loved him. For most of his young life, Franklin says he was physically and emotionally abused; as an adult, he blocked those memories. After his mother’s admission, however, the scenes flooded back into his mind: “For the moment, I was unable to speak. My mother had rolled an emotional grenade that spun on the gray carpet stretched out across the living room floor and came to a stop at my feet. Mentally, I threw my body on top of the grenade, hoping to stop the pain that twisted and churned in my body.” Franklin’s childhood was so traumatic, it took years of therapy for him to find clarity. His recounting of his journey to mental wellbeing, and the case he builds for the efficacy of therapy, is well and candidly told. Many memoirs graphically portray trauma; but here, Franklin uses a lighter touch, alluding to rather than dwelling on the violence. Instead, he offers the emotions he felt while on his journey to healing. While Franklin’s encyclopedic, straightforward memoir moves slowly at times, the details may resonate with readers (“Even in my adult years, when I was in my thirties, I attempted to measure my level of grief. If someone I loved died, would I cry? How much sadness would I feel? Would it weigh me down? I wanted to know, so one night, I imagined that my two daughters had died”). Overall, Franklin offers an honest, diaristic report that has the potential to help those who’ve weathered similar experiences.A frank and cathartic account—and a testimony to the benefits of psychotherapy.

Pub Date: April 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-947966-56-7

Page Count: 222

Publisher: WiDo Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2022

Review Program: KIRKUS INDIE


Published by llfranklin12

Larry L Franklin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University. He performed in the U.S. Navy Band located in Washington, D.C. from 1967 to 1971. From 1972 to 1975, he taught music at Southern Illinois University. In 1976, he completed requirements for a certified financial planner designation and maintained a successful investment business until 2007 when he retired to devote his energies to writing. In 2003, he received an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Franklin is the author of “Mnemosyne: A Love Affair with Memory,” published by Xlibris; “The Rita Nitz Story: A Life without Parole,” published by Southern Illinois University Press; “Cherry Blossoms & Barron Plains: A woman’s journey from mental illness to a prison cell,” published by Chipmunka Publishing Company; and “Supermax Prison: Controlling the most dangerous criminals,” published by History Publishing Company. He currently resides in southern Illinois with his wife, Paula.

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