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A book review of:

   Charred Souls
             by Trena Cole
  Book Review Highlights:
  • Abused children learn to conceal abuse.
  • Abused children hope for rescue which never comes.
  • Abused children take on blame they don't deserve.

A Story of Recreational Child Abuse

   While browsing her hometown newspaper on the Internet, Trena Cole ran across a letter to the editor about child abuse.  The letter writer quotes from the bible and rails against the tragedy of child abuse and the ineffective government agencies which permit it. 

   The letter writer is an authority.  She is the author's mother, a woman who turned her 7-year-old daughter over to a known child molester, and who punched, belittled, and terrorized all of her children for years. 

   Charred Souls…  is a story of recreational child abuse.  It's about seven beautiful babies who seemed to have been bred for the sole purpose of being used as game pieces for twisted, sadistic and degrading games.  The verbal abuse they endured was just as crippling emotionally as the physical abuse was painful. 

   This book is a testimony of abusive acts and words which people should never do or say to children.  The language, the author says, is raw, ugly and harsh, just as it was screamed at the children until they became old enough to escape the madness. 

                  The Hope For Rescue

   Charred Souls describes how children learn not to tell anyone outside the family of the abuse, how they hope for rescue from someone who will save them, and how vital are the few people who are nice to them.  Sometimes a stranger, like a gas station attendant, offers a smile which gives them hope to carry on and believe things will get better. 

   This book illuminates how children internalize things and make themselves at fault, even though they are blameless.  It is about how children dissociate to protect themselves and about the survivor's guilt suffered by the ones who escape.

From Charred Souls:

--About her mother:  "She knows that if you tell your children they are ugly and stupid and should have been smothered at birth, it makes them controllable.  If that doesn't work you can always make them watch their brutal, sadistic stepfather shoot their dog.  If that doesn't do it the first time, do it again.  If you call the child names and tell them how worthless they are on the way to shoot the dog, the child will be so scared they won't know if you are going to shoot them or the dog."

--"My family loved the fact that I didn't dispute my being ugly, because that meant they won the control game, they won the mind game, they won every game.  As long as they had the feeling of victory, things were only bad, anytime they felt like they lost a game, things got brutal."

--"One of the problems with trying to save my brothers and sisters was that we were all so close in age.  By the time I got completely free, they were already headed down their paths, each of them in a different direction.  Each one of their souls as charred and damaged as mine."

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