Sunday, 4 January 2015
My Prison Without Bars: The Journey of a Damaged Woman to Someplace Normal by Taylor Evan Fulks
It was with some trepidation that I approached My Prison Without Bars, purely because of the subject matter. It is an unflinching account of one woman's experience of sexual abuse; an abuse which began when she was little more than a baby. Fulks pulls no punches with this story, it is unrelenting and it is ugly and this is as it should be. Like all good novels, however, it is so much more than it seems. The real power of the story lies with the skill of Fulk's writing. She grabs the reader from the very first page and takes us on her journey of empowerment and self-discovery. Fulks could be forgiven if her novel resonated with self-pity but she is having none of it. Instead, her words ring with warmth and humour which engaged me so much I literally could not put this book down. Despite at times feeling as though I was reeling from what I was reading, I read My Prison Without Bars in one sitting. It's clear that for Fulks this novel is about taking ownership of and, ultimately refusing to be defined by, events over which she had no control. Reading this novel was, for me, a totally life-affirming experience. Yes, you can expect to feel anger, pain and despair but, there is equal parts hope, determination and admiration for Fulks as the story unfolds. This is a novel about the triumph of the human spirit but it is also a triumph for Taylor Fulks as an accomplished story teller.