The Eyes Have It
by Jeanne Byrns
Trafford Publishing

"Although we were his own flesh and blood, he never interfered with the cruelties of our stepmother. She was free to do whatever she pleased with us."

A memoir of a childhood full of neglect and abuse, this book is both heartbreaking and hopeful. From early on, Byrns feels like no one wants her. After her father divorces his wife, he deserts his children, leaving them in the care of their vain and selfish mother. Resentful of her children, their mother abandons them to the care of their grandparents, who are the first people to truly care for the children and give them unconditional love. This bliss is short lived, however. As her grandfather becomes ill, Bryns and her siblings are shuffled between their two parents, neither of whom is happy to care for them. Her father has married a woman named Jean, and together they neglect, underfeed, mock, and abuse the children regularly, while Jean's own biological children are pampered and spoiled. Her father doesn't stop at beatings, however, and eventually begins to sexually assault the girl.

Byrns spends her childhood longing for someone to love and accept her, but she is consistently disappointed. Her account is starkly realistic and gripping, and it is nearly impossible not to feel anguish for Byrns and her siblings. Though gritty and bleak, this book conveys the resiliency of the author. Time and again, she survives beatings and emotional abuse, yet she never gives up hope or becomes embittered. Through faith and determination, Byrns manages to flourish. Her inspirational message for victims of abuse is that God loves everyone and that there is hope

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