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I have quite literally finished reading this book. I started it yesterday at midday! It is 301 pages long and I can't say it was an enjoyable read that kept me so gripped. To start with this book is not for everyone, it is extremely distressing and incredibly upsetting. This is a true life account of a young girls lost childhood.
It doesn't give a date at the start but we do know the author was in her 40's when the book was written and it was published in 2006. As the author brings the reader up to speed, her story (for want of a better word) finishes in 2004. I mention this because it shows a reality that everything which she wrote about did not happen that long ago. Her childhood is set in the 60's and 70's to the best of my understanding and mathematics.
The book is set in Ireland and Kathy O'Beirne relives and writes about her harrowing childhood abuse. From about the age of 4 her father continuously beats and mentally tortures her, local boys sexually abuse her and rape her at the age of 7 - she does not tell anyone. Her father sends her to a reformatory school at the age of 8 years old, she is one of the youngest children there, the mental and physical abuse continues as does the sexual abuse and rape. She tries to speak out about the rape but instead of getting comfort and protection she is sent to a psychiatric hosptal. Weeks later now at the age of 10 she is sent to the psychiatric hospital where the beatings and rapes continue. Kathy is also subjected to electric shock therapy and experimented on with different drugs.
After some time at the psychiatric hospital she is then sent to a Magdalen laundry when she has to work as a slave, continuously told she is worthless and will end up burning in hell for all eternity. The rape and beating also continue throughout her time spent there. At 13 she is raped and falls pregnant, her daughter is born but sadly dies at the tender age of 10.
This young child was snatched away from her family at a young age and had very few visiting days. She made friends along the way but needless to say she struggled to get through every day in such misery and sadness.
Kathy goes onto write about her current day struggles fighting the system and trying to get justice whilst also trying to fight her own ghosts. Many of her friends are still in the psychiatric hospitals. The last Magdalen Laundry was closed in 1996.
I don't think I have ever cried so much reading a book. I can't say I would recommend this book because it is extremely upsetting, however it is a real eye-opener and is worth a read if you can cope with the distressing content.
Don't Ever Tell - Kathy O'Beirne
Having never read a true life story I wasn't sure what to expect when borrowing this book from a friend. From the cover I knew that it was going to be an emotional story though I didn't realise just how emotional.
The book is classed as an autobiography from Kathy as it covers her life from a very young age as she tells of a terrible childhood destroyed by neglect and fear. Having children myself I found it really emotional and by the end I had cried a number of times. I am not sure that I could ever read another story like this - knowing it is real pains me, though I am glad that I read it as the author wanted her story told and I am privileged to read it.
Kathy suffered in silence as she was constantly abused and battered by her own father and local boys. At the age of eight, her father took her to a home and from then on was incarcerated in a number of Catholic run homes, ending up in the notorious Magdalen Laundries where she became victim yet again to sexual abuse and gave birth to her baby girl only a month before her 14th birthday. Her story continues from this and shows how her childhood has effected her whole life continuing to be harrowing in many different ways.
I would certainly not recommend this read to those who may find the very sensitive aspects too harrowing. It covers everything from mental to physical abuse, sexual abuse, death and much more. To think that someone suffered so much from such a young age without anyone intervening is sickening and so sad. Be prepared to have your emotions rocked drastically when you read this true story.
I don't know whether I can say I enjoyed reading this book as the subject matter was so sensitive and harrowing especially knowing it was a true life story though I can say I am glad that I read it in a lit of ways. I don't think I will be reading it again as my emotions simply cant take so much pain as is in this book.
Well done to Kathy, the author of this book and who suffered so much in her life and came out the other side.
I will begin by saying that I am not one for reading tales of child abuse etc as I find them too upsetting and it isn't my preferred reading material.
Over recent years, there has been a lot of books published in this genre, which has became very popular, and often tagged as 'misery literature'. Many sufferers of childhood abuse have published their stories.
I do not have a problem with this, and if it helps someone else, then I am all for it. However, what happens when the author is accused of lying?
As part of my job, I often have to do sleep-over shifts, and as I cannot sleep very well, I like to have a book to read.
My work colleagues often leave books for the rest of us to read, and having forgot my book one night, I was browsing through them, hoping to find something good to read. None of them really appealed to me, but I settled on this one.
Don't Ever Tell by Kathy O'Beirne was published as a true story in 2006.
The book states it is a harrowing account of Kathy's ruined childhood and her subsequent fight for justice.
I began reading the book and was quickly drawn in to the horrific account of Kathy's childhood.
She tells of being beaten by her father and other acts of cruelty by him, such as being locked in a shed, where her mother and siblings are not allowed to free her.
At the age of eight Kathy is taken away to live in a Catholic home ran by cruel nuns. Her letters home are not sent and nor does she receive letters sent from her mother. She does receive the odd visit and is allowed home for a short time but ends up back in the home. She remained close to her mother, who was powerless it seemed, to help her.
Kathy is also sent to a psychiatric hospital, declared mentally unwell and subjected to electric shock treatment.
When she is older, she is sent to the Magdalen Laundries, where again she describes an horrific existence, subjected to beatings and sexual abuse.
Aged just 13, she gives birth to a baby girl who sadly dies at the age of 10.
Reading this book I was horrifed at Kathy's tale and could not put the book down, wanting to get to the end to find out if she has seen any justice or compensation, for her disgusting treatment at the hands of those who were supposed to care for her.
Her story is indeed harrowing, as it tells of a young child becoming a woman long before she should have, and the cruelty that was always there, every day. Reading of her life in the various institutions and relationships with the other girls incarcerated there, was really upsetting.
I felt really angry when reading this book, especially when I discovered that these Magdalen Laundries were only finally closed in recent years! I had thought that these places were closed a long time ago.
Kathy explains that she wanted to tell her story as she wants to see justice done, but explains how many people who have suffered remain silent.
I felt she told her story really well, and you could almost feel the pain and emotions she described. I could not stop thinking about it for a long time after reading it, and it was the topic of discussion amongst my work colleagues as we all read the book, and agreed it was probably the most horrific story we had ever read.
Imagine my surprise when a friend told me recently that an Irish journalist claimed to have exposed Kathy as a liar. He has in fact wrote his own book 'Kathy's Real Story' where he claims her tale is in fact all lies. Her family have refuted her claims, and he states she was never abused, was never placed in a Magdalen Laundry, nor had a baby!
Apparently, there was also a programme 'Lie Lab' aired on Channel 4 in 2007 where Kathy's brother, who disputed her story, took a lie detector test and was shown to be telling the truth. Kathy, herself declined to take part.
The book and programme have of course cast doubt on Kathy's story, with many people demanding the book be withdrawn from sale or re-published as a work of fiction. Others, however, refuse to believe this, and state that no one could write a tale like that without having endured the horrific treatment Kathy claims she suffered.
I have never read the journalist's book, nor did I see the TV programme, so I am left feeling unsure what to believe. I can say after reading the book, that I can understand the people who refuse to believe this is a work of fiction. Maybe Kathy feels she does not have to 'prove' herself, and has been through enough, hence her declining to take part in any tests.
If it is a work of fiction, however, then this will surely discredit many people who have plucked up the courage to tell their own stories of abuse, leading folk to believe that these authors are trying to make money and gain sympathy from publishing their 'stories'.
Bearing all this in mind, I am not sure how to rate this book. I would have given it five stars, but the fact that doubt has been cast upon it and it has supposedly been 'proven' to be false, then I have decided to award it 3 out of 5.
I began by saying I never read this type of book and to be honest I wish I hadn't read this! I certainly won't be reading any more.
'Don't Ever Tell' by Kathy O'Beirne is available to buy from Amazon priced at £4.32.
I picked this book up in Duty Free when I was enroute to Belize. I was initially drawn to it firstly because it was a Sunday Times bestseller and secondly because of the innocently looking picture of a little girl on the front cover. However, as most pictures tell a 1000 words, once you realise what the book is about, you understand the poignancy of the picture on the front cover.
The book is autobiographical and written by Kathy O'Beirne and tells her story of a ruined childhood, how she tried to come to terms with it and seek justice for the crimes committed on her.
From the moment you start reading the first page, you are immediately drawn into a harrowing event that took place in the authors life. The author covers inexplicable child abuse within her family, incarceration at the infamous Magdelene Laundries to teenage pregnancy and electric shock therapy on her in a psychiatric unit.
I am not an avid reader, though I do enjoy the reviews posted by others on here. However, this is one book I just couldn't put down. As I read through each chapter I was gripped but not in a good way. Each event that Kathy talks about and describes made me feel disgusted and I kept asking myself how could this happen and how could it be allowed to happen to someone so innocent. But as Kathy reasons with us, it did and it is unlikely to ever be explained. Something that Kathy herself has had to come to terms with.
I feel that Kathy's description of the events meant you could build up a vivid picture in your mind and actually feel like you are Kathy. It is scary how with this book the reader can be drawn into the authors world. A credit to the author but not something to be praised for, she is merely telling her story.
I do not wish to delve into the specifics of these accounts, I would really urge you to read the book yourself. There have since been reports where Kathy's siblings have said part of the book is made up which Kathy vehemently denies. To be honest I believe a lot of the graphic detail could only have come from first-hand experience. In addition Kathy is not the only person to have gone through this, about 150,000 children are thought to have been imprisoned by the Magdalene Laundries and mis-treated in this way. However whether you believe it or not it is still worth a read.
According to the book, today Kathy is quite frail though only about 30-40 years old, a person who has withdrawn into herself with a completely nervous disposition. She is currently campaigning for justice against her treatment in the laundries, though there are no records of anyone kept within the institution so no proof, just accounts.
True or false, the book is nothing short of thought-provoking. Not least because of the disbelief that this could and did happen and it made me seek out a movie titled The Magdelene Sisters which centres on 3 girls. However in my opinion it does not touch upon these extreme events as in the book told by Kathy. The treatment bestowed upon the girls kept within this institution (for want of a better word) has been described as dehumanizing abuse. The case continues.
Author: Kathy O'Beirne
Published: 18 May 2006
This review may be posted on other sites by me.
© jupiter28 2008