Danced in My Brain:
A Woman's Story of Addiction and Recovery.
Burnstown, ON: General Store Publishing, 1995. 157pp, paper, $16.95.
Mansfield, Kimberley, 1959-
Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Grace Shaw.
She couldn't get the vein and kept missing herself, leaving the blood to
down her arms. . . . covered with raw, red, and bluish marks.
Danced in My Brain tells a story of sexual abuse and a
into a living hell of addiction and despair. The most chilling reality is
power of the drug over the will -- that once mainlined, the drug is in
control and there are few roads back to normalcy.
Kimberley Mansfield wrote her story to help other addicts, to give
them understanding and hope, and to deter those teetering on the brink.
title refers to the release from pain -- physical and psychic -- promised
by the orange cap of the hypodermic syringe.
The book is gripping; the reader does not stop for coffee. But some
aspects of the book are troublesome and difficult to accept. The abusers
are shadowy; it is not always clear who the perpetrators are (sibling
abuse is generally less damaging than inter-generational abuse). The step-father
acts decisively to end the abuse, but the self-
flagellation continues. The author beats herself up with the story.
There are some elements that are hard to accept without more
information. Why, for example, would popular and beautiful girls need to
beat Kimberley up? Can we believe that all four sibling in an
apparently normal household have totally destructive addiction problems?
As I read, I am troubled and challenged by some scepticism and lack of
acceptance. Maybe non-addicts just cannot really understand the space of
one who has lost control of her life.
But perhaps Kimberley's book will accomplish what she wishes:
comfort the lost and warn the vulnerable.
Recommended for a teenage and young adult audience.
Grace Shaw is a teacher at Vancouver Community College.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association.
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