To overcome the incest she endured early in life, Jasmine Inari Jarden began therapy at 23 and started a journal. Her memoir contains these writings and personal letters over the next 17 months, telling of her trauma and her path to healing. Her journal entries start out raw and unfocused – which seems to mirror her internal struggle – recounting her daily life but also touching on her aimlessness at work and with men. Soon, however, she grows braver and more articulate, zeroing in on her deeply held pain and passing along her wisdom.
Beginning at age 8 and continuing for the next 13 years, Jarden was repeatedly raped by her step-grandfather. The other adults in the home remained unaware, and Jarden never let on, although she often was withdrawn and aggressive for no apparent reason. After college, she realized the painful secret was interfering with her relationships and well-being, and she sought therapy.
At first, Jarden was unable to reveal details of the incest and blamed herself. “It is like I have been carrying this dirty film on me for many years,” she writes. But, she adds, “I feel like I will not progress any further unless I get it off me.”
She gradually opens up, exploring long-buried memories and feelings. Her progress is evident; in time, she’s able to look at her therapist without hiding behind the jacket she brought to every session. She becomes friendlier and more talkative, even with strangers. At the close of her tale, Jarden’s newly found self-confidence shines through.
In her journal writings, Jarden often mixes present and past tenses within a sentence, which is confusing. Later, as her writing becomes clearer, it is easier to follow. Although it needs further editing to correct grammar mistakes and typos, Jarden’s memoir is a commendable effort to bring incest into the open. Her story will speak honestly to other survivors of childhood trauma.
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