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Danica, Elly
Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1990. 120pp, paper, $4.95, ISBN 0-7710-2549-1. CIP


Reviewed by Catherine R. Cox

Volume 18 Number 5
1990 September

From the age of four until she was twelve, Elly Danica was sexually abused by her father. She was verbally and physically abused by him until she left home to marry at eighteen. As she wrote this book, which is an account of her life, she finally faced the horrors of her childhood and came to terms with them, if that is possible. She has since toured Canada to speak to different groups about sexual abuse of children and she serves on the board of directors of Outreach Abuse Prevention.

Danica has written this book in an effective way. It is made up of short paragraphs, each containing an image or memory. It was a very difficult book to read emotionally and must have been very hard to write because of its horrifying contents, not that it contains a lot of graphic detail, but it is just hard to believe that three men in business suits would rape an eleven-year-old girl while her father held her down and smothered her screams. This book haunts you.

Elly Danica makes her own case for having a book like this in a library. As a child she read voraciously looking for any book that told the story of a little girl who was like her who lived a life of terror at home. She couldn't find one. She couldn't find anyone who could explain to her why she lived as she did. She couldn't find anyone who would save her.

This is not a self-help book. There are no lists of relevant addresses or advice on who to contact if the reader is looking for help to get out of an abusive situation. I cannot recommend this as a book to be read by children or even teenagers as an exercise in bibliotherapy. On the other hand, I would not deny teenagers access to this book after all, they won't leave "Life with Billy" on the shelf!


Catherine R. Cox, Moncton High School, Moncton, N.B.

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