ISBN #: 978-1461105671
Page Count: 424
Alessa is just seven years old when her uncle rapes her for the first time.
As the years pass, his sexual appetite becomes more voracious and his perversion more twisted, until the abuse has become almost a daily ritual, with the unspoken involvement of the girl's mother.
At the age of sixteen, after the death of her only friend, Alessa finds herself at the mercy of her real-life monster, with no relief in sight. She flees her home to escape this hell, only to find herself descending into a more dangerous one. Alone and helpless in the streets of North Philadelphia, she encounters more human predators who want to take over her life and devour her.
About to hit rock bottom, Alessa manages to break away from her new tormentors and finds refuge in a shelter for homeless and abused women. Wherever she goes, however, trouble keeps seeking her out, until she meets three people who change the course of her life forever.
Though Alessa's bittersweet journey is perpetually fraught with challenges, she does, nevertheless, manage to find fleeting moments of joy along the way. But as she begins to settle down, a ghost from the past comes to haunt her again, threatening to destroy the very foundation of her small world and plunging her back into an abyss of despair, until she makes her final bid for escape.
Believe Like A Child is the haunting story of Alessa, a young woman who is sexually abused by her uncle as a child, and how that abuse continues to define her as she matures. Alone and naive, Alessa runs away from home, only to find herself confronted with the evils of the street. Along the way, she finds Lucy, an abandoned little girl, who gives her hope and purpose, and finally, Alessa finds love and acceptance in Remo, the man that acknowledges her past and helps her plan her future. Unfortunately, Alessa's past returns with startling consequences.
Paige Dearth is a powerhouse of the written word. Her characters burst with life, and her descriptions are emotive. She has a grasp of the pain of abuse that no one other than a survivor can possibly fathom. Graphically rendered details, at times, emotionally overwhelming, delve deep into the sickness and evil of sexual abuse, especially regarding children. This is not a "pleasant" read, but a powerful story of the ability of abuse victims to persevere under horrifying circumstances. Caution should be taken with any survivors of such abuse, as this could be extremely triggering.
I read this book in one sitting, as I was riveted, but at the same time felt as if I was witnessing a horrible wreck and couldn't avert my eyes, no matter the carnage. The ending was a complete shock and left me heartsick, as I identified with Alessa's struggle so deeply, and cheered her on from the first chapter. Believe Like A Child is a dramatic thriller with a strong message of how one act of abuse can spiral into a lifetime of pain, and how even the smallest acts of kindness and love can change a person's future.
Cannot wait to see more from Ms. Dearth!