Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ignorance is Bliss

I am a complete bookworm, and I don’t mind admitting it. I adore immersing myself in a book, escaping mundane day to day life, kicking back with a memoir or a good novel, forgetting where I am, letting hours slip by like minutes.

Bookshops are great fun in my opinion, sure it may seem geeky, but spending an hour or two browsing a quiet, peaceful book shop on a rainy Scottish day surrounded by thousands and thousands of different books; novels, fantasy, romance, comedy, memoirs, biographies…it’s a real pleasure for me.

It appears that over the past few years there has been an influx in ‘misery memoirs’; people writing about their childhoods, where they were abused, beaten, neglected, or suffered hardship. Usually the author explains he or she wrote said book in order to reach other victims of abuse, to show that you can move on, you can leave all that happened in a difficult childhood behind and have a healthy adult life. But we all read them. Most of which become bestsellers, eg. A child called it, by Dave Peltzer.

They do serve a purpose, these books, and I have learned (although I already knew) how lucky I was in my own childhood, to grow up in a happy environment with two loving parents who would never dream of harming me or my brother, who would go out of their way, do anything in their power, in order to keep us from harm.

And then I was given ‘Someone to watch over me’, by Izzy Hammond.

The book, which was started two weeks ago, lies down-turned and open near the beginning. I just can’t bring myself to read those words written on the page, depicting a scene of sexual abuse Izzy went through at the hands of her deaf / blind father at the age of 9.

The story is much too awful to continue reading. I cannot bear to read on. The author has written the story in such a horrifying, graphic way that literally makes me feel sick to the stomach.

It feels wrong to read this book. It feels wrong to have the book in the house. And I feel just awful for the poor woman that went through this, but sometimes, ignorance is bliss and today, I choose ignorance.

A little update; Izzy Hammond has a blog!


FP said...

och... baby, don't traumatise you with this kind of horror book... i know it sometimes really true but your not the kind of person who need this. Find book with happy end! it always cheers up ! :-)
Mwahhhh !!!! <3

Despina said...

Read an interesting article in the guardian supplement a few weeks ago about this. While what happened to these people is awful, you are in no way obliged to read it and taking the book to the oxfam bookshop should not make you feel guilty.
When I want a great read, I enjoy Vikram Seth or Stephen Fry, even if you're not a fan of his I couldn't recommend his autobiography too strongly! Which authors do you enjoy?

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Ahhh FP your too sweet! 'don't traumatise you' you even added in a beautifully scottish little 'och'! You're learning Scottish very quickly mon tresor!

It's funny you should mention Stephen Fry, Despina, because my parents have read the autobiography and have left it in my room to read. It is on my list of things to read! Shall perhaps take it to France with me.

Favourite authors of the moment have to be Torey Hayden, Virginia Andrews, Marian Keyes, Paullina Simons and Stephen Clarke...these author's books I can read time and time again.

sugar007 said...

I have read a couple of Pelzer's book and I was truly moved by them.
After his books, I noticed a spat of such books with the same look, covers and even title fonts. However I feel these books are more a therapy for the victims, as I really don't understand how reading someone else's horrific experience helps other victims. Maybe knowing someone else has had a horrible experience like yours makes you feel less isolated.But I know there is ugliness in the world and personally, I can't inflict someone else's pain into my conscientiousness for the sake of a good read. Fine if such a book was going to make me volunteer at a dom violence/sexual abuse centre, yes it has made a positive but what tends to happen, after I read such a book, I cry, feel sad and disgusted at the world, and that is it!! I bet I sound like a cold heartless cow now.

sugar007 said...

I meant consciousness not conscientious!

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Lol no no don't worry about it Sugar you don't sound like a cold heartless cow!

I'm not sure why these kind of books are so popular...perhaps it's because so many of us are interested in people and the actions of people,and normally, if it is an autobiography then one expects it to have a somewhat happy ending.

Munther said...


The Description of what little you've read brought shivers to my spine ! :(

I too choose to be ignorant to such things, does this make us bad people ? Surely not, some people have tender souls and can't coup with such things !

Anyway, I enjoy reading Ian Rankin's ;) and Sydney Sheldon novels (suspense must be a guys thing). :P

I too enjoy bookshops. Och, the hours I spent at borders :) sometimes even skiving Uni

Ghosty said...

I'm a bookshop dweller myself. I'm quite certain I've read more inside the shop than I've purchased to read at home! :)

As for Izzy and his statistics, check the RAINN web site. A very different picture. RAINN is in the business of raising awareness. Izzy is in the business of selling books - and nothing sells books lately like misery. Especially graphic, violent, 'true-story' misery. I'd take Izzy's marketing efforts with a grain of salt.

Lis of the North said...

Don't you always find that, from the selection of 3 for 2 books at Waterstones, there are always FOUR that you want? Sometimes I have to physically restrained from going into Waterstones. If I go in I spend. I want to know when they are going to start providing trolleys... Love books. :)

reta said...

I love book stores, too! I really enjoy reading your blog. I agree with most of what you have said. It's good, enjoyable material. thanks for sharing!