CM March 1, 
1996. Vol. II, Number 21

image Danced in My Brain:
A Woman's Story of Addiction and Recovery.

Kimberley Mansfield.
Burnstown, ON: General Store Publishing, 1995. 157pp, paper, $16.95.
ISBN: 1-896182-25-9.

Subject Headings:
Mansfield, Kimberley, 1959-
Narcotic addicts-Biography.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Grace Shaw.

**1/2 /4


She couldn't get the vein and kept missing herself, leaving the blood to run down her arms. . . . covered with raw, red, and bluish marks.

Danced in My Brain tells a story of sexual abuse and a nightmarish descent into a living hell of addiction and despair. The most chilling reality is the 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. Its 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.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to

Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364