This novel is written in the first person and styled like a secret diary.
The diary narrative explores a number of relationships the victim has and their response to his abuse; his family, friends, the perpetrator and other authority figures. A strength of this book is that it addresses the ongoing sexual relationship between the victim and abuser and the struggle this creates for the victim to confront the abuse.
The interesting thing about this volume is that, while fiction, it is earthed in the experience and work of its author. John Kidson worked among young people in Sydney and as the inaugural Chaplain at Southern Cross University.
This book is also a timely publication as the ‘Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’ draws towards a conclusion. While the Royal Commission has a particular focus, it has drawn attention to the fact that Church leadership did not act appropriately to reported abuse; it also demonstrates the inadequacy of people and systems to know how to deal with reported abuse. This book is a good example of how people when confronted by abuse have not known how to respond.
The author has attempted to address the inherent tension of exploring ideas and telling a story, never an easy task. The story is told and the messages are clear, the diary approach has its weaknesses, particularly in not developing characters more fully.
Having said that, this volume develops the exploration of a young man’s sexual expression emerging out of the trauma of abuse and for that reason I give it a big tick of approval.
“Quite an Abusive Story” by John Kidson
Publisher C & J Spynetwork