Few topics are more difficult to discuss than incest, yet the silence around the subject allows it to continue. In Silent Lucidity, author Olivia Benson grapples with her past and tries to find peace while helping others do the same.
In her introduction, Benson says, “Let’s stop giving one little word so much power.” But in an author bio she states, “Her story does not spend a lot of time on the act of incest,” and that proves to be the case. She briefly mentions that her father was the perpetrator, but beyond that just notes that there were times when her home life was extremely, and understandably, stressful.
Describing her journey to wellness, she incorporates numerous quotes from self-help books and shares various random events–a conflict that escalated at one of her jobs, a suicide attempt that led to her blacking out and attacking her husband–in detail. She also describes caring for her father when he was dying, and the conflicted emotions it raises. The impact of these stories is hit and miss; while they are possibly connected to her healing process, a stronger narrative flow would help readers to connect those dots.
Spelling and grammar errors pop up but don’t overwhelm the text. However, Benson twice relates the same anecdote about discovering Reiki and working with a practitioner to help heal. While describing a troubling incident at work, she shows self-awareness by noting how her reluctance to report a suspicious situation with a student connects to her fear of “telling” as a child. After that, though, the story becomes convoluted and hard to follow.
It’s certainly possible to write about incest without delving into one’s own experience, but this requires a strong sense of purpose and a clear message. Silent Lucidity suffers from a lack of focus or guiding thesis. While it was likely beneficial for the author to express her feelings, readers will find the narrative a challenge to navigate.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.