Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review and Giveaway of Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation

Since I have recently started reading more often, I am always on the look out for new books that may interest me. I was recently asked to review the book, Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation, which seemed like something that may be interesting, so I was excited to read the book.

About the Author: Christine Stark is an award-winning visual artist and writer. She showcases her artwork in numerous periodicals and galleries. She has also been published in numerous anthologies, including Feminist Studies and The Florida Review. She has spoken at various conferences, rallies and universities--both nationally and internationally--on social justice issues. Christine currently lives in Minneapolis with her partner, April, and teaches writing at Normandale Community College and Metropolitan State University. You can learn more about Christine and her work through her website,

Book Synopsis: Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation begins with the story of a four year old girl. The story follows the girl throughout her life, from the age of four to twenty-six. Written from first person point of view, you are given an inside look into the mind of a child who is neglected, abused, raped, and tormented. As a coping mechanism, the child develops dissociation and multiple personalities, and you are able to learn that the child, who refers to herself as Little Miss So And So, really identifies herself as many people. Emotional, heartbreaking, and insightful, this book takes you into a world of abuse and mental health from the inside of a child's mind.

My Review: While I did cover the basics of this book in my synopsis, there is much more to it than a story of abuse and multiple personality disorder. When I first opened the book, I admit, I was shocked and somewhat apprehensive with the writing style. The book is written in a lyrical style with prose poems, with nothing more than a line change or italics to show changes in characters or dialogue. I often find things like that difficult to really read and be able to absorb the material, but I wanted to give the book a chance, so I continued reading.

I started out on a journey, with a young child who was undergoing some of the worst cases of abuse possible. She was violated, humiliated, and hurt in more ways than one. The story drew me in. It was difficult to read at certain points, but not for the reason I expected. The writing style took a moment to get used to, but the story of abuse particularly affected me. I know things like this occur in the world, which makes it heartbreaking to read it from a child's perspective--to know that this is what they face, day in and day out. While I know it is a work of fiction, there is still truth to this book and the story of abuse, as the author added small elements of stories from other sexual abuse survivors throughout the story. I have been studying these issues for my child welfare class in college, but this book shows you the abuse from a child's point of view, which is incredibly different than reading a case study or overview on abuse cases.

The more I read, the more I knew I had to keep reading. As the story progresses you learn about the child's life, as she struggles to survive, to find love, to deal with her guilt for things beyond her control, to discover her own sexuality, how she deals with homophobia, and how difficult it is for her to make connections with other people. The story begins to show you the mental health issues that arise in this child's life and how she copes with the abuse. As someone with mental health issues myself, I read the book with an understanding of some of the passages. I have in no way experienced everything Little Miss So And So (and later just So And So) has, but I know the confusion, the concern with being referred to as crazy, and the effects of living with a mental health disorder. The book was powerful, and is a story of ultimate survival and eventually overcoming and healing from the sexual abuse she suffered. The book is also a story about mental health, and the inner workings of a person's mind who has multiple personality disorder.

I am excited to share this book with someone whom I consider a true friend. I know she will understand it, and may find some parts difficult to read, but it is something she would like to read. When I told her about it, she thought it sounded fascinating and interesting, as there are parts of the book she can relate to well.

Buy It: You can purchase Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation at Amazon. The book is available in print or as an ebook.

Win It: I am able to offer two of my readers the chance to win a copy of this unique, inspiring, and emotional book. It is powerful and truly amazing, and I am excited to be able to share it with my readers. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. I was not monetarily compensated for this post. These factors to not determine the type of review posted, and the reviews are always factual and based on my own opinions. Please visit my Disclosure Policy for more information.
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