The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot.
There are times when I am rendered speechless by an author's ability to tell a tale so effectively. And there are times when I am rendered speechless by the sheer magnitude of the tale being told. This book hit me on both accounts. It is the story of a teenage girl. A girl who has suffered abuse at the hands of her father for years. A girl who runs away from home to escape the abuse. Helen's story, while fictional, plays itself out countless times in the real world. I sometimes felt nearly suffocated by the pain...because I knew that as I read this story there were thousands upon thousands upon thousands of flesh-and-blood Helens hurting at that very moment. Having said that, it may now seem odd to say, but this book was truly a book of hope. Of healing. Helen's abuse was shown in flashbacks during her journey forward to a new life. This journey forward wasn't an easy one for Helen, as I imagine no journey out of pain ever is.
Since I am so inadequate in my ability to share my thoughts, let me just share some words of others...
"This book is a gift to humanity." (Chris at Stuff As Dreams Are Made On)
"There are many ways to fight child abuse and incest. The important thing is not how you do it, but that you do it, and The Tale of One Bad Rat does it." (Andrew Vachss, from the book cover)
"What Helen went through is expressed in a subtle but absolutely clear way. Most of all, it’s her emotions that are addressed. This is not a book that tries to simplify things. We get the whole thing – all the difficult and contradictory feelings..." (Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot)
"...the book is one that stays with you..." (Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf
"So, yes, there's more than one layer to appreciate..." (Valentina at Valentina's Room
"The more child abuse is discussed in society or fiction in whatever medium, the more likely it is that the victims will realise that it is something that happens all the time, that they can speak out, be believed, and get it stopped." (Bryan Talbot)