“Tender Morsels” by Margo Lanagan

Recommended to me by: Meloukhia

This is a fairy tale, but no child’s story. It starts with incest and pregnancy and abortion, and continues with gang rape. Then Liga is magically placed in a world that matches her heart’s desire, peaceful and safe.

While examining the consequences of assault and the consequences of avoiding […]

“The Myth of Sanity” by Martha Stout, Ph.D.

Subtitle: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness; Tales of Multiple Personality in Everyday Life

Recommended to me by: a client

This book contains a therapist’s compassionate, engaging views on people who have Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder) and how they can heal. Martha Stout discusses both specific cases and […]

“The Armless Maiden” edited by Terri Windling

Subtitle: And Other Tales for Childhood’s Survivors

This is an anthology of fairy tales retold for adults, with the scary bits left in, and also the bits about resilience and survival. Yes, her father cut off her arms, but then the armless maiden rescues herself and her child through quick wits as well as […]

“CrowHeart” by Keelin Anderson

CROWHEART: becoming unwounded, a memoir of transformation

Recommended to me by: Keelin Anderson

To tell her story of healing from incest and emotional abuse, Keelin Anderson weaves together daily narrative, fiction, quotes, tarot readings, and dreams, all in present tense.

As I read, I saw places where our paths have overlapped, and places where […]

“Leaving the Saints” by Martha Beck

Subtitle: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith

Recommended to me by: Reading Martha Beck’s older books

I first read this years ago and loved it. I came back to it while writing a (forthcoming) article about spiritual abuse and faith. Since I last read it, I read her newer book “Steering […]

“Tiger, Tiger” by Margaux Fragoso

Recommended to me by: rushthatspeaks

This is Margaux Fragoso’s matter-of-fact memoir of growing up in Union City, New Jersey with an angry father who is a jeweler, a mentally ill mother who is often hospitalized, and a very complicated relationship with a pedophile, Peter.

I skipped whole chapters in the middle of this book, […]

“Not Trauma Alone” by Steven N. Gold

Subtitle: Therapy for Child Abuse Survivors in Family and Social Context

Recommended to me by: Dr. Kathleen Young

This is an academic book, written in precise psychological language, containing enough material for a semester course. Startlingly compassionate insights into complex trauma and prolonged childhood abuse (abbreviated PCA) are built into a treatment model that […]

“When Food is Love” by Geneen Roth

Recommended to me by: a client.

Geneen Roth has written several books about overcoming compulsive eating by removing external rules around food and listening to one’s own body instead. She also talks about the source of compulsive eating – not an internal lack of control, but a survival strategy to overcome the lack of […]

“Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes” by Chris Crutcher

Recommended to me by: Tess Alfonsin

A hard-edged book for teens that takes on multiple tough issues:

Children’s cruelty to each other for being fat or disfigured What it’s like to grow up fat or disfigured Surviving parental abuse and abandonment Abortion Hypocrisy Religious intolerance by some Christians

While I applaud the author’s courage […]

“Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” by Karyl McBride

A mix of personal memoir, client stories, and self-help advice, this book compassionately details the effects of having a narcissistic mother and shows a pathway for healing.

Narcissism – extreme self-absorbtion and inability to empathize with others – occurs on a spectrum from a few narcissistic traits to full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Women with […]