Yesterday, I was immensely privileged to have Daisy Rain Martin guest post for me. Today, I have the honor of reviewing her book Juxtaposed. Full disclosure: Daisy herself sent me a copy, though it was not in exchange for a review. We have never actually met in person, though I hope to remedy that!
Juxtaposed is Daisy’s personal narrative of her journey out of an abusive environment. She doesn’t mince words–she is brutally honest about the harm done to her. For that reason, many people might find that her story elicits their own strong reaction. For some, it may be triggering due to their own history. While I highly recommend this book, it is with caution that the reader should examine him- or herself and decide if reading it is a good idea.
I have long been an avid reader of memoirs. I’ve read people’s stories about self-harm, disordered eating, brain surgery, heart transplants, devastating autoimmune diseases, mental illness, and autism. I have been touched by all kinds of people. The two things I take away each time are a greater understanding of something I’ve never experienced myself and a greater capacity to examine my own life. The best memoirs help us to see both ourselves and others more clearly.
Juxtaposed is no exception; it is every bit as good as every other memoir I’ve read. The first thing I noticed, straight from the first page, is that Daisy writes like she’s sitting down to have a conversation with you. Out of the gate one senses someone warm and personable. And we immediately have a sense of who this woman is–she is descended from show business, and consequently her personality matches. I was delighted with her style.
The second thing is that although the title of the book refers to the combination of Vegas show biz and an abusive religious household, the story itself is also a juxtaposition. Although Daisy paints a picture of horrific childhood abuse, she does it not with angry, black slashes but with bold, vivid colors. There is a thread of confidence and humor and warmth running through the book. It is at once horrifying and inspiring.
I admit, this book is a tough read, despite the humor and the healing power of love and faith. My own childhood looked vastly different from Daisy’s. When the rest of the world was hard and cruel, home was my safe haven. I cannot imagine growing up feeling unsafe under my own roof and among the people I called family. Yet at the same time, I can related to feeling unsafe in a religious environment. I think that despite the fact that we all may approach reading Daisy’s words from different places, we can still find our own experiences reflected back in her raw emotions.
There isn’t a good way to sum up this story. You really need to read Daisy’s words for yourself. She weaves rage, sadness, and joy together throughout the pages, expertly binding them with a hefty dose of love. Despite the abuses she’s survived, she makes a point of telling her readers, often in reverent detail, about the people who have been instrumental in her healing. In fact, she spends more time on the people who have loved her than on those who have inflicted pain on her.
As you read, bear in mind that this is Daisy’s journey. She isn’t offering weak platitudes or sage advice on how anyone else can find wholeness. You won’t find the Ten Steps to a Healthier You in these pages. She never hints that the way she chose to heal should in any way be someone else’s choice. She understands and respects (and says as much outright) everyone’s need to find their own path. Hers began, and continues, with her faith; therefore, she tells us just how that faith sustained her and shaped her.
I hope you will take the time to read Juxtaposed. You can read a sample of the book here, or order a copy here. I can’t recommend this book strongly enough. You can also request a copy of her free book, If It’s Happened to You, at her web site.