This bold and beautiful act of sharing shows the power of overcoming abuse.
Because I Didn’t Tell by I. Katchastarr is a chilling confessional memoir about abuse and finding the courage to start anew.
Katchastarr’s marriage and motherhood began in the most terrible way: through rape. Susceptible to the coercion of her attacker, an ex-boyfriend, she found herself in a nightmare. She married him, had his baby, and suffered years of repeated abuse.
While she was pregnant with their second child and nearing her breaking point, her situation became even more horrific: her husband raped their daughter. Finally, she had the insight and courage to leave, but her path to healing would be decades long and fraught with secrets. In this memoir, Katchastarr finally regards herself as able to see her situation with clarity, share it openly, and choose to forgive herself over hiding in shame.
The narrative is fast moving and high tension. It includes just the right amount of detail to craft scenes and show the terror of their situations. Dialogue is tense and realistically terse, brimming with stress.
The brevity of the book and its chapters makes it possible to face this dark narrative with few anxious breaks. To help ease the tension and to show growth, each chapter ends with a list of things Katchastarr forgives herself for and a “Pearl of Wisdom”—both reminders to herself and gifts to her audience. These elements are a beautiful window into what it means to heal and an invitation to self-forgiveness for things both big and small.
During each phase of her journey, Katchastarr shares her story as she felt and saw it at the time rather than focusing on how she’s learned and grown since. This method provides vital insights into her mind and heart as she is facing abuse.
This bold and beautiful act of sharing shows the power of overcoming, helping others imagine a path forward or understand how abuse happens and what effects it has on those who are abused.
Katchastarr italicizes pronouns related to her abuser; it’s an unneeded emphasis for the audience. Beyond setting the abuser apart in the text, the work does not spend time villainizing him: his actions do that for themselves. Instead, the book’s focus is on Katchastarr: her actions, her thoughts, her compassion for herself despite her mistakes.
Because I Didn’t Tell is a breathless story that shows a woman suffering the worst imaginable realities but surviving with hope.
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