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This is the first in a series of two books. It is one little girls heartbreaking, inspiring story. Child abuse in one of the worst possible ways.
Abused continuously by her father from an early age, Antoinette always had faith in her mothers love, and thought that she would tell him to stop......She never did.
The story begins with Toni (Antoinette) waiting to visit her dying mother in hospital and the story unravels from there.
A real tear jerker and near impossible to put down. Beautifully written, and very sad (You may need to keep the tissues handy) it makes you want to read the follow up book "When Daddy Comes Home"
I read the second book first not realising it followed on from this one, once I had read this one, the second one made a lot more sence filling in the gaps.
Overall a good read but be warned there are quite a lot of disturbing details in places.
I was recently recommended this book by a friend and picked it up pretty cheap in a local charity shop, I was instantly gripped by the book...
At the start of the book, Toni is going to visit her dying mother in hospital. It seems that Toni is visiting her mother in hope that she will admit her part in the abuse that her daughter suffered for years before passing away.
After her mother passes away, Toni's memories of her past seem to come back to haunt her.
known as Antoinette throughout her childhood, her father's abuse began at the young age of 6 with an inappropriate kiss. Despite telling her mother straight away, who is too overcome with love to admit the abuse, her father's terror goes unnoticed for years.
Over the years, Antoinette is subject to terrible sexual and physical abuse from her father, and some of his friends.
Does she ever truly escape?
Don't Tell Mummy gripped me from the first page, the abuse that Toni was subjected to was terrible and the fact that she can now write about it shows just how strong she has become. I find her story very inspiring and hope that Toni can help people suffering the same to come forward and break free. Also, I find it a little inspiring that, after everything, Toni still holds so much love for her mother despite her part in the abuse, I don't know if I could do that same!
I would recommend this to anyone who can handle the issues discussed.
Don't tell Mummy by toni Maguire is possibly one of the saddest books I have ever read. It is a true account of the events in Toni's own life which for me just made it more sad. I just couldn't put it down as I was eager to see what heppened next whilst hoping that the misery and pain poor Toni had suffered would come to an end. Toni was subjected to terrible abuse from her father from a very early age (6). The books is written after Toni's mother passes away in a hospice and she is forced to encounter memories she had managed to file away for many years. I would recommend this book to anyone who can stomach the terrible things that Toni had to enounter. It is good in a way that books of this nature are written to put into the public demain the terrible things that some children are forced to deal with. Toni's follow on book is also fantastic it is written after her fathers death and goes into a little more detail of her past.
Don't Tell Mummy by Toni Maguire gives a frank and harrowing account of the author's childhood which at the tender age of six became a nightmare, not only through the sexual and physical abuse perpetrated by her father but of an equally, if not greater betrayal by a mother who, blinded by love would not listen to her daughter after the first inappropriate gesture in the form of a kiss was brought to her attention and so allowing the abuse to go on for many years unchecked.
The book begins with Toni going to her dying mother's bedside as despite all that has gone on before, she still has love for her mother and wants to make her last days on earth as comfortable as possible. She also harbours a hope that her mother, who is troubled by nightmares, will finally admit the part she played in her daughter's abuse at the hands of her husband and having taken responsibility can ask for forgiveness and die in peace.
When her mother sleeps, Toni, with lots of time to think cannot help being pulled backwards in time by 'Antoinette', the let down, frightened child locked in her mind who is seeking answers to what happened to her and why. She fights to keep her at bay but cannot and so her past life is divulged to the reader in all it's grim detail. Through having to move to and fro between England and Ireland, attend different schools and maintain a charade of 'happy families', the story depicts a life of happiness followed by abuse, secrets, lies, betrayal and how a young child deals with it all with little or no help or understanding around her.
The story tells of how Antoinette started life in England with an English mother and an Irish father. Content in her mother's and grandmother's love she is a happy child. Her father is in the Army so he does not feature in her early life much. When he leaves the Army and returns home Antoinette becomes aware of discord between him and her mother and starts to see the different sides to him, sometimes being the 'nice' father and at other times the 'angry, frightening father'. Shortly after his return to civilian life, the family move to Ireland for a fresh start amongst his family.
Once in Ireland, life is not how her mother hoped and with growing tension between her and her husband, Antoinette's father eventually turns his attentions to his daughter and her nightmare begins.
In an era when paedophilia was not a word heard much of together with her father's threats to keep quiet the abuse continues and her mother's failure to intervene combined with no one to turn to sees Antoinette having to survive on her wits and her ability to disassociate herself from what is happening to her in secret.
When she becomes pregnant by her father her secret slowly starts to unravel and the continuing story is almost as bad as the previous part, as what happens to her once the truth is revealed is just as atrocious and prevents Antoinette being able to heal and lead a normal life as you would hope she would be able to once the truth comes out.
The story jumps from the past to the present. Will her mother be able to admit her guilt before she dies? Will her father be there at the end for the wife who has sacrified so much for him? Will Toni get the closure that she so desires so that she can lay the six year old Antoinette who haunts her to rest?
Toni Maguire writes with such clarity it is clear that she can recall what happened to her as if it was yesterday and the confusion, dread, hope and despair she felt as a six year old and onwards is palpable. What is most saddening is how children, no matter what is done to them, still crave love from those that have betrayed them and any little bit of attention fills them with hope which is, in this story, then snatched away in the cruellest way. In this day and age, it is hard to believe that only a generation ago, there would be so little understanding or sympathy given to a child who had already suffered so much and the way she is treated by her extended family and the community at large is unfathomable and the effect of what happened to her dogs her life way beyond when the abuse has ended.
Although, like most books of this genre, it is an uncomfortable read, it is also exceptionally compelling and is therefore difficult to put down. This book focuses largely, not on her relationship with her father and how that turns out but more so on the one she shares with her mother. This may sound odd but because she was so secure in her mother's love, the fact that her mother continued to let her down becomes the crux of the story and is the hardest thing Antoinette (who in later years becomes Toni to separate herself from her past) has to deal with. The final betrayal by her mother will blow your socks off, whether you are a parent or not.
Highly recommended if you can stomach the content.
Thanks for reading. x
also on ciao under ryanellaxx