Call Me Cockroach by Leigh Byrne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is the sequel to Leigh Byrne's Call Me Tuesady. It is her own account of the abuse she suffered from her mother between the ages of 8 to 14 when she finally went to live with her aunt. Only Tuesday was singled out for abuse, and her father, while aware of the about did little to prevent it. He did send her to her grandmother and aunt's for summers, but when contacted by Social Services, he maintained that Tuesday was not being abused. Her brothers, two older and one younger, maintained a distance from Tuesday and were complicit by their silence.
While Tuesday did get away from her mother and had a very loving and supportive relationship with her aunt, the scars of her early life effected her in every way. The book gets its title from the concept that the cockroach, despised and hated, will still be in the world even if civilization is destroyed because they are survivors. It is hard for people who have never been abused to understand the depth of damage done to a child like Tuesday. This book pulls away the curtains and allows us to get inside the damaged psyche of someone who has been told she is a worthless. It wasn't enough that Tuesday was forced to stand with her nose to the wall for hours, locked in her bedroom with only a bucket for her waste and starved; she was sent to school dressed in rags and filthy so that her classmates would continue the abuse at school. When Tuesday attended school at her aunt's, she was clean and dressed in fashionable clothes, but she expected to be rejected and by her classmates. Her early decisions were made from a terrible sense of self worth. The ordinary person would look at someone like Tuesday when she was finally surrounded by love and expect her to suddenly change. This book was an eye-opener.
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