Can I Come HOME Now? by BARBARA GODIN
In this moving and painful memoir of growing up from age five to adulthood, the author paints a sad and all too familiar story of early sexual abuse from men whom she should have been able to trust that evolves into a shattered sense of self-worth and ultimately her own dysfunctional and abusive marriage. The story relates how little Barbara came to be vulnerable to such trauma after the break-up of her family and being shuttled among various, not always-willing relatives. She details the highly effective and shrewd tactics predators use to keep their victims under their total control. The unrelenting theme throughout is her constant longing for her mother's elusive love, always just beyond her reach.
Rather than a tragic and self-pitying diary, at times, Can I Come Home Now presents an informative and dispassionate account of the official attempts of schools and welfare agencies to deal with broken families, up to and including the last-ditch attempt of internment in correctional schools to care for "disposable" kids whose acting outcomes to their attention. Unhappily, the overall outcome is seldom rehabilitation or preparation for adult life as much as these institutions being simply a holding area, waiting for kids to get old enough to graduate out of court-ordered supervision.
Barbara's trepidations during pregnancy led her to seek information at the library about childbirth and motherhood, and she became a voracious reader. Through knowledge and returning to complete the education she had so gleefully escaped as a teenager, her sense of self-worth and empowerment emerged, and she was able to be the giver of the maternal love she had never managed to receive.