When the Piano Stops: A Memoir of Healing from Sexual Abuse


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Catherine McCall appeared to have all an American girl could want: well-to-do cosmopolitan parents, a private education, a strong faith foundation -- even two baby grand pianos at her fingertips. But beneath this perfect facade, her family hid a horrific secret. No one could have guessed there was an actual torture chamber in the basement of 763 Montgomery Place, or that McCall was being raped repeatedly by her father. And by the age of eighteen, she didn't know either -- she had repressed every memory of abuse. Twenty ...

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Mar 19, 2009

This is a Very Important Book

Reading "When the Piano Stops: A Memoir of Healing from Sexual Abuse" by Catherine McCall is like taking a walk, a very long walk down a road you have never been on before. On this road you will be exposed to both daring and humbling nuances of a child who experienced many kinds of abuses at the hands of her father and her mother.

The title "When the Piano Stops" has to do with McCall's father, who played classical piano.

There are many reasons why this book is very important. One reason is because you won't want to miss how McCall measures her development and ensures her survival by stepping out of her anxiety and in to the arms of both the therapeutic and clinical community combined with the theological world of faith, hope and charity, in order to regain her composure. In this effort McCall manages to let a once fragmented and torn apart self achieve wholeness.

Another reason is because McCall gives new meaning to the word "daughter" and makes great use of her faith in this work. But more importantly she also shares her pain and revelations with us through the demonstration of her trust in a "sisterhood" through the friendships she develops with many women. The first one is with her grandmother. McCall's portrayal of their love for one another is so vivid it is absolutely stunning. In addition, her long-time therapist, Mary Anne played a pivotal role in her healing.

And yet we must also appreciate that as a licensed Family and Marriage Therapist, McCall reveals intimate details of her marriage to Peter who was stalwart in his devotion to her and their family during many a crisis. Yet one needn't confuse those strengths with perfection. McCall is not interested in painting prettier pictures of reality for us, not after what she has lived through. Her book is raw, as raw and as fresh as the graphic images of the story she needs to tell ... so be prepared to enter the world of elder care, death, grief and redemption and by the time you reach the end of the road you will draw your own conclusions about Catherine, her family, and her faith but I can assure you that you will probably not see sexual abuse survivors in quite the same way you had before you opened her book.

This work is a feminist work of art with a deeply moving Epilogue, Appendix an extensive Bibliography, Acknowledgements and Group Discussion Questions.

Kaolin is the author of a forthcoming book from Crandall, Dostie & Douglass Books, Inc. titled "Let's Talk About Race" and sells
Spirit Journey Photography on line.

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