I first read the condensed version of this book in the “Book in Review” section of Reader’s Digest. A couple of years later, I stumbled upon the hardcover copy and bought it. The book, unfortunately, stayed in my box a couple more years.
I found the book again while in the university and couldn’t get past the early pages, which gave a glimpse of 2 elderly people’s lives i.e. Ruth Finley,47, and her husband.
The pace picks up when a stalker called “The Poet” sends Ruth poison pen poems and harasses her through repeated phone calls. One day, Ruth is also stabbed in the back in her home. For 4 years, the police are baffled by this slick stalker until a new chief of police arrive at the conclusion that Ruth IS “The Poet”.
Huh? How can that be?
Sessions of psychotherapy later reveal that “The Poet” is the adult Ruth who is angry over what happened to her as a child. Years of counselling finally uncover the traumatic sexual abuse Ruth endured under the care of her father’s best friend and neighbour.
Slowly, the adult Ruth “assumes” little Ruth who retells each abusive incident from an “eye in the sky” perspective. It takes Ruth a long time to accept that it is she who was being abused, not a little girl she is watching from above. It feels like she is just an observer because the terrifying experience of being molested again and again is too much to handle that she disassociates herself from the place and the person.
I cried for the little girl when I read about the one time the neighbour cried as he felt remorseful over what he was doing. Tragically, her innocent care arouses him instead and he turns on her again!
Ruth’s suffering is magnified each time she cries when her dad drops her off at the neighbour’s house. She cries in despair when her dad scolds her for being a ‘bad girl’.
Reading this book, I gained a better understanding of the ugly truth of sexual abuse – often times, the predator’s wife is aware of what goes on yet will not or cannot do anything to stop it. In this case, the abuser’s wife offers Ruth cookies to get her co-operation.
I felt that her father was in a position to stop this nightmare…if only he trusted Ruth and stopped to ask and listen to her reasons why she didn’t like going to his best friend’s house. He was annoyed at his good little girl for “being naughty” about the situation.
If you want to understand the nature of sexual abuse as seen through the eyes of a child, Ruth’s narratives draws you right into the room where it all happens. Each time it happens.
After reading this book, one thing’s for sure – I will never trust anyone completely with my child. And if my child cries or refuses to go to anyone, there must be a reason for it. And it is up to us, the parents, to find out what that reason is.
Get your copy of “Little Girl Fly Away”:
Little Girl Fly Away by Gene Stone
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