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Friday, December 09, 2011

My review of The Visionary by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

About the book:

A Visionary is someone who sees into the future, Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as "a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique" Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that's disgustingly prevalent in today's society. Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives?

My review:

The Visionary is a powerful story about healing, forgiveness and dealing with the effects of childhood trauma. I've never read a novel before that included such clear scriptural references combined with realistic tension and struggles within the characters' lives and their minds. While there were a lot of tears and pain expressed in this novel, I can see this story being very effective toward healing the emotional lives of people who have been severely abused. I found the way the information was slowly revealed over time, and the damage done to Taylor and Trevor as very believably written. The emotion was powerful and realistic. The overwhelming shame, guilt, and the sense of being dirty or damaged, as well as the feeling of being unworthy of "real" love was excellently shown. Trevor's anger and irrational behavior was typical of men, and so well done.

Having worked for over two decades with abused children and adults, and in particular sexually abused children and adults, I can say with assurance that this author portrayed it well. The portayal of their enmeshment, their fear, the clinging behavior toward each other, the inability to separate emotionally and trust people other than themselves, was all evident in their portrayal. And anger doesn't begin to touch on the feelings of the victims, especially when they felt helpless to protect not only the other person, but were made to participate in the abuse as well. 

Rage describes the emotion better and the author did an excellent job showing how rage, bitterness, and distrust were slowly destroying their lives. She also showed how this kind of intense pain cannot truly be repressed for long. It still leaks out and severely damages whatever it touches, like battery acid. It makes the sufferer feel crazy and irrational at times. But there is healing that can be found at the foot of the cross. 

I was blown away by the realism of the emotion in this novel and am thoroughly impressed with this author's ability to capture restrained passion and the fear of that very same passion because of how it had been expressed in such a twisted way when they were victims. I loved the message that they weren't to blame. That was so true. Sibling sexual abuse isn't as uncommon as people would want to believe. I've known at least twenty cases both personally and professionally where this has occurred. It hadn't been forced in those cases, but it still caused a lot of damage. At the same time the abused siblings (even when they were sometimes the abusers) caused an inseparable trauma bond between the kids. It's profound, deep, and difficult to address in therapy. Trust is difficult to earn in these relationships. 

The whole thing with Taylor's gift of visions was a nice touch, but not really needed. The story was compelling without it. I can see this book as a useful tool for counselors to offer victims, especially Christian counselors. I found the story inspiring and demonstrating that their is hope even for the most severely traumatized people. I loved this book! It's making my top fiction list for 2011.

The Visionary was published by Five Star and was released on Nov. 16, 2011.


Tracy Krauss said...

I also read it and really appreciated its gritty realism, yet the love story was never overpowered by it. It was one of those books that I was anxious to get back to. It was a pleasure to read.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

All praise and glory go to God for this story. I couldn't, nor would I have even attempted to write this without HIM.

Thank you Michelle for such a beautiful review.

May God bless you 100fold.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Thanks Tracy - your support means a great deal to me!

Sheila Deeth said...

This sounds really intriguing. Lovely review.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

your name is in the drawing twice so far Shelia - thanks!

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