The boy with the bent neck and a dog whose tail wouldn’t wag. — Part I

(I will continue this story in a series of short blurbs. )

It’s a story best told around the campfire under a star-filled sky accompanied by the distant sound of whip-poor-wills; a tale best told about “the boy with the bent neck and a dog whose tail wouldn’t wag.” Some of the details may have changed, but the meaning remains the same.

There was a middle-aged man who, when viewed according to upper-class standards, lived a successful life. Still, relentless pain dwelled beneath his skin and bones. The pain drove him to roam the countryside in search of happiness. He came upon a woman who he found unfamiliar but alluring. There was a quietness about her. Upon questioning, she told him that true happiness could be found at a Buddhist monastery located in a remote part of Colorado. The monastery was occupied by a group of monks led by Father Ramero, a man wise beyond his years. As an inititial test, anyone seeking Father Ramero’s help had to make the twenty-five mile trip on foot over rugged terrain leading to the monastery on the mountaintop.

Everything Buried But Nothing Grew

Victims Make the Best Birdhouses by Larry L Franklin

It is not my job to convince you that I am a victim of physical and sexual abuse. I share my journey, leaving you to draw your own conclusions. While my story is based on what I believe to be true, I recognize the possibility of minor discrepancies in human recall. It is my hope that fellow victims of physical and sexual abuse will benefit from my sharing and become stronger and wiser than before.

A Healing Moment

Victims Make the Best Birdhouses by Larry L Franklin

Trauma is a vampire, but light, as any student of folklore or Freud knows, will kill it. The problem is, when the shell- shocked try to exhume their memories—to bring them into the light—the result can be a death struggle so fierce they may fear it’s them, not the suckling pain that’s about to die.

—Katherine Russell Rich

The Red Devil: A Memoir About Beating The Odds

Powerful Review

Megan Arns

5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Story of Survival and a Path to Healing

Franklin’s horrific story reminds us that humans have the capacity to inflict life-long harm upon each other through physical and sexual abuse. While his previous works hint at his past, Franklin’s memoir is the unthinkable full story. Through great courage and time (and with the help of psychotherapy), he works through his past to unpack the dark, repressed memories deep inside him. This book is an astonishing account of a twenty-year journey of reliving visceral memories and piecing together a fragmented past. While one could have chosen to give up or turn the other way, Franklin’s book is a gift to us all – a compelling story that tells a true, horrific account of childhood physical and sexual abuse. I’m personally very thankful that (Uncle) Larry is a strong, brave survivor and know his story is one of hope and inspiration for the many victims of childhood abuse.

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


Review — Victims Make the Best Birdhouses.

From Victim to Victorious

I read this book in one day. I couldn’t put it down. It’s an amazing, honest and heart wrenching account of childhood abuse. It’s also a story of hard work to gain control of one’s life. Larry speaks of his journey with a voice of clarity and new found self-awareness. While he was the victim as the child, the adult is victorious! Kudos to his wife who stood by his side through all the trials and years of therapy. What a strong woman who saw Larry for his love, kindness, and many talents and not just the scars from his abuse.

Tammy Gwaltney

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