Green Books Campaign: Surviving a House Full of Whispers

Posted by Trish Riley, November 28, 2010

Green Books Campaign: Surviving a House Full of Whispers by Sharon Wallace

This review is part of the Green Books campaign. Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco- friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.
Sharon Wallace has weathered a most difficult life, and Surviving a House Full of Whispers is her valiant attempt to share her horrific story of abuse with others in an effort to both spare other children from such treatment and to reach out to those whose lives have been similarly damaged with a signal of hope. This book is the second in a trilogy of her life story. The first, A House Full of Whispers, details her early years suffering physical and sexual abuse from her step-father and mother. She ran away at the age of 16, but it took years to begin to shed the effects of her past.

The second book describes her life from age 16 to adulthood, as she forged a life while recovering from the maltreatment of her youth. Navigating past the horror to find love, she became a mother herself, reaching out to protect other children in her realm, as well. Finally, she took in her own mother, and was able to care for her as she aged. Ms. Wallace elucidates the continuing abuse she suffered as she tried to get help from the social welfare system. Authorities who questioned her allegations of abuse essentially continued the pattern of disrespect that had marked her childhood. “I needed one person to say they believed me, just one set of arms around me to cradle the ache and I longed for comfort of another human to tell me that I was lovable and valuable.”

Ms. Wallace’s life is fraught with struggles reflective of her own childhood. She encountered abuse and recognized it in situations where others did not and she reached out to help protect children whom she felt were subject to abuse, although her efforts seemed to be in vain. An area in which Ms. Wallace triumphed was in finding a lasting love in her husband Mike, who trusted and supported her as no one ever had. Together they faced life’s struggles and created a family of their own, with four sons and many grandchildren. Alas, Mike and Sharon both suffered considerable health issues which added to their struggle to survive, but together they managed through difficult times.

Ms. Wallace’s own health issues encouraged her to seek out her natural father who had abandoned her as a young child. Unfortunately, their encounter just added to her distress as her father failed to welcome her into his existing family life.

In spite of the ongoing litany of struggles, the tale is one of triumph for Ms. Wallace and for readers with similarly abusive backgrounds. “The pain and emotional turmoil of rejection will always be with me. It’s difficult to overcome and believe anyone can love you if your own parents do not love you.” Ms. Wallace is able to give promise to those who have faced abuse, and to empower them with the strength to move through their own difficulties to establish loving lives as adults. “I watch my children with their children and know I ended the dysfunctional lineage that had been passed down through generations of abusers. My grandchildren are to be cherished and future generations after them.”

The book is a paperback with the soft pages of recycled paper. The cover photo of Ms. Wallace as a teen is blurred, perhaps intentionally. Ms. Wallace is a poet, and her text is a lyrical stream-of-consciousness prose that can be difficult to follow. Yet the self-published effort is sincere and valiant, and could be enhanced with the professional guidance of a professional editor and publisher. I wish Ms. Wallace the best of luck in finding this support to help get her story the attention it deserves. I believe many people could be helped by her generous willingness to share her own experiences. I hope that this book helps our society to learn to value the gifts that are our children, and to eradicate the abuse they so often suffer at the hands of those who should love and protect them.

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–Trish Riley is an award-winning environmental journalist. She’s the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guides to Green Living and Greening Your Business as well as several eco-travel guides.

The Green Books Campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on “green” books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on at Green Books Campaign.