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Dear Reflection: I Never Meant to be a Rebel (A Memoir)

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Jessica Bell never meant to be a rebel. But growing up with two gothic rockers as parents seemed to make it inevitable. ​ In 1980s Australia, Erika Bach and Demetri Vlass founded Ape the Cry and Hard Candy, two of Melbourne’s iconic indie bands. They encouraged Jessica with unreserved love to pick up the guitar and write her own songs. But Erika’s back problem became a night Jessica Bell never meant to be a rebel. But growing up with two gothic rockers as parents seemed to make it inevitable. ​ In 1980s Australia, Erika Bach and Demetri Vlass founded Ape the Cry and Hard Candy, two of Melbourne’s iconic indie bands. They encouraged Jessica with unreserved love to pick up the guitar and write her own songs. But Erika’s back problem became a nightmare of pill popping, alcohol abuse, and anxiety attacks. Demetri retreated into silence for fear of triggering Erika’s drug-induced psychosis. And Jessica turned inwards, to her own reflection. But her mirror self was a fiend, not a friend. All it took was one secret drink at fifteen, and Jessica dove headlong into depression and self-destruction to escape the madness at home. Experimenting with bisexuality in a high school rife with bullies? Not a problem; she had alcohol. Losing her virginity to rape? Not a problem; she had alcohol. Trying to supplement absent love with unprotected one-night stands? Not a problem; she had alcohol ... ​ Until one day alcohol nearly drove Jessica off a cliff. Jessica had to look at herself honestly and frankly. Why did she keep running from reality, and more importantly ... herself?


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Jessica Bell never meant to be a rebel. But growing up with two gothic rockers as parents seemed to make it inevitable. ​ In 1980s Australia, Erika Bach and Demetri Vlass founded Ape the Cry and Hard Candy, two of Melbourne’s iconic indie bands. They encouraged Jessica with unreserved love to pick up the guitar and write her own songs. But Erika’s back problem became a night Jessica Bell never meant to be a rebel. But growing up with two gothic rockers as parents seemed to make it inevitable. ​ In 1980s Australia, Erika Bach and Demetri Vlass founded Ape the Cry and Hard Candy, two of Melbourne’s iconic indie bands. They encouraged Jessica with unreserved love to pick up the guitar and write her own songs. But Erika’s back problem became a nightmare of pill popping, alcohol abuse, and anxiety attacks. Demetri retreated into silence for fear of triggering Erika’s drug-induced psychosis. And Jessica turned inwards, to her own reflection. But her mirror self was a fiend, not a friend. All it took was one secret drink at fifteen, and Jessica dove headlong into depression and self-destruction to escape the madness at home. Experimenting with bisexuality in a high school rife with bullies? Not a problem; she had alcohol. Losing her virginity to rape? Not a problem; she had alcohol. Trying to supplement absent love with unprotected one-night stands? Not a problem; she had alcohol ... ​ Until one day alcohol nearly drove Jessica off a cliff. Jessica had to look at herself honestly and frankly. Why did she keep running from reality, and more importantly ... herself?

30 review for Dear Reflection: I Never Meant to be a Rebel (A Memoir)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    Emotional review coming up. Get your napkins ready! When I requested this title, I was excited, because hey - a rock’n’roll teens memoir? Written by someone whose parents were actually musicians, bohemians? Man, that sounds good. Who wouldn't want to read that? Then when I let it sit for a bit, I was a little apprehensive. There will be lots of sex and drugs, won't there? I'm not really one to go for that sort of thing. I was always too nerdy and timid for that. To the extent where it s Emotional review coming up. Get your napkins ready! When I requested this title, I was excited, because hey - a rock’n’roll teens memoir? Written by someone whose parents were actually musicians, bohemians? Man, that sounds good. Who wouldn't want to read that? Then when I let it sit for a bit, I was a little apprehensive. There will be lots of sex and drugs, won't there? I'm not really one to go for that sort of thing. I was always too nerdy and timid for that. To the extent where it still makes me uncomfortable to even read about it. But then I decided that responsibilities are responsibilities, and I have to do what I promised (which is, read it and write a review). And then, there must have been something in the blurb that attracted me, right? [image error] (If you keep getting the same annoying image error as me for no reason, head on to my blog to read this) And there indeed was. When I started reading this, I realized it wasn't at all what I expected. Yes, there was sex and there were drugs, and a whole lot of awful life-decisions, but. They were not told through the eyes of an entitled posh rock kid. They were told through the voice of a woman - who, although she was a rebel, was every bit as misunderstood, bullied and harassed as I was when I was growing up. Which made reading this book an immensely rewarding and captivating experience - because it's as if I was reading my own life story, but backwards - what if I would have made all those opposite decisions? What if I'd chosen everything backwards from how I did? The author of this memoir had the same exact experiences in terms of emotions, sometimes - even the same exact things happen to her, to the point of it feeling eerie. She always felt like I did, she drew the exact conclusions, reacted emotionally the same. Was exposed to the same trauma. And yet, she chose all those things I didn't choose (to have or not to have sex with absolutely anyone, to take or not to take drugs, to try suicide or not). All those things I thought I was too coward to choose to do. But Jessica Bell, bless her dear heart, made me realize that nothing good would have come of those. And I have nothing to regret losing. In this book, we get lots of glimpses into Jessica’s childhood, her teens, her youth. She writes well, and not only that - she gives those lovely little windows into the past - videos of her parents’ band, childhood photos, the recordings of her teen band (they're actually awesome and I will probably listen to them!). All of that makes her life so real, so emotional and approachable. That was what made me gobble up the book in an evening and the next morning. It felt like an experience. I pretty much saw her do all those things. Jessica talks about her poor choices and especially of her self-hatred very openly. It's like she's confiding in us, or, as it is voiced in the book - to her reflection, which is the one who judged and hated her all her life. She indirectly talks a lot about how crippling self-hate and self-shaming is, and how to overcome it. If you have suffered this in your life, I strongly recommend this book. It will help you connect with your own feelings. It also talks a lot about bullying. How it's a vicious cycle, like an ouroboros that feeds on itself, and once you get into that circle, it will never stop affecting your decisions and actions, until you become your own bully when the other bullies are gone. Ultimately, it's what ended up happening to me after I graduated school (as I was viciously bullied), and I struggle with the wounds up to this day. And probably always will. The way she describes how bullying made her into her own bully is eye-opening. I always knew that was a thing, but through lack of someone to talk to about it, didn't give it more depth. And it's just so liberating to see someone lay these thoughts out on paper, validate them in your head. If you've been bullied too, this will resonate with you. The book also talks about the very delicate and fragile connection we have with our parents, and the need we experience to be loved. And how we can be made to believe we aren't. Jessica grew up with a mother who suffered chronic pain, and that was an ordeal on its own. Although my mother didn't have these challenges in life, I found Jessica and her mother's relationship so much like mine and my mom's, it has also helped me understand some things, and realize where I should have been thankful to her, and where things were not quite how they seemed. All in all, this book was a great, touching and very eye-opening experience for me. I don't know if it would be the same for you, because it seems I have so much in common with the author in a deep sense, that it was just extremely relevant for me. But if you've struggled with any of these in your life, you could benefit from this book. I could not recommend it more. A big thank you to Cameron Publicity&Marketing and Jessica Carmen Bell for giving me the opportunity to read this book prior to publishing. I have received a copy in exchange for my honest review, and I feel like honest it was. From the depths of my heart. Read Post On My Blog | My Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter

  2. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    I'm going to start by saying I don't normally read biographies, but the description for this made me want to give it a go. Jessica Bell has lived a rock n' roll lifestyle, her parents were in a gothic rock band in the 80's and early 90's, she grew up around musicians and started bands herself. Well, this sounded far more interesting than the usual celebrity self-absorbed childhood stories! I found it difficult to get into, picking it up and putting it down a few times before I really got going w I'm going to start by saying I don't normally read biographies, but the description for this made me want to give it a go. Jessica Bell has lived a rock n' roll lifestyle, her parents were in a gothic rock band in the 80's and early 90's, she grew up around musicians and started bands herself. Well, this sounded far more interesting than the usual celebrity self-absorbed childhood stories! I found it difficult to get into, picking it up and putting it down a few times before I really got going with it. Jessica's early years are interesting but described with a bit too much introspection for my liking. It's when Jessica is a teenager in the 90's that I started to really connect with this. I'm a 90's teenager myself so it was a little bit like going back in time, with the bands that she talks about, and the feeling of being an outcast at her high school. I also started to see why the events from her younger self are important, and how they had effected her personality and the way she deals with things. Jessica is unflinchingly honest as she unpicks the decisions that she made that lead her on a self-destructive path, and also kinda hard on herself too. She has done a lot with her life, as I was reading about her in the 90's I thought we were of the same generation, I guessed Jessica was a few years older than me. Actually, she's a bit younger but far more mature than I was at the same age. I think Jessica as a teenager was probably more mature than I am even now! By the end of the book, I was 100% sucked in and racing through the pages as Jessica starts to find a way to forgive herself for the things she has done, and accept herself as she is, flaws and all. Jessica Bells's voice is unique and compelling, and her life story (so far) is interesting and well told. Recommended if you like biographies, you like rock n' roll stories, or you were (or still are) a 90's riot girl. I received a free copy from the publisher in return for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena

    From the outside, Jessica Bell’s life looks like an extraordinary success.  Editor, teacher, author, and singer/songwriter, Bell has written and published a number of books in different genres including poetry, several novels and writing guides, created her own literary magazine, become a fully-fledged publisher, written a music album, and joined a major band, all in the last decade or so. Success appears to have been  effortless for her. Bell’s memoir Dear Reflection: I Never Meant to be a Rebe From the outside, Jessica Bell’s life looks like an extraordinary success.  Editor, teacher, author, and singer/songwriter, Bell has written and published a number of books in different genres including poetry, several novels and writing guides, created her own literary magazine, become a fully-fledged publisher, written a music album, and joined a major band, all in the last decade or so. Success appears to have been  effortless for her. Bell’s memoir Dear Reflection: I Never Meant to be a Rebel shows just how far from effortless that success has been. Bell’s first (and possibly not last) memoir is a well-written, fast paced, and engaging read that chronicles Bell’s extensive struggles with depression, with being the child of two semi-famous gothic musicians, years of coping with her mother’s drug addiction, and the ongoing battle to maintain self-esteem against an inverse of Snow White’s evil queen’s mirror on the wall - the “reflection” of the title. The book is structured chronologically into five parts, each tied to a particular timeframe that moves between age four and thirty five. It is generally progressive but the mirrored reflection remains in the present tense as an uneasy and often malevolent confidante that takes on the role of a character. It is possible to read the reflection as Bell's alter-ego or the ‘monkey mind’, like an evil twin that must be reckoned with.  This ‘reflection’ is represented by an italicised voice that not only receives the chronicle letters, but which continually attempts to undermine Bell’s successes and sense of well-being.  The reflection isn’t just Bell’s own self-criticism.  It’s also a societal voice that many readers will recognize all too well - the voice of the ‘normative’; the voice of magazine ads and perceptions of ‘should-be’, and it’s clear from the start that the real story here is about the battle between this self-saboteur and the desire to for self-actualisation and happiness. It’s an ongoing battle and one which takes this story from an interesting account to one with universal appeal. Bell’s settings are well drawn and engage the reader as the story moves from Melbourne's Heidelberg suburbs, the university scene as Bell attends Latrobe university, through Greece’s Ithaca and Athens. The descriptions of Ithaca are particularly evocative: In the mornings, the rooster’s call would wake up the locals at the first sign of sunrise. Cicadas would sing in the olive groves, and dogs would bark as the bread truck—a beat-up red Ute—would deliver fresh hot loaves to residences by slipping the required amount of bread into cloth bags hanging from wire fencing. When glittering sunlight would make patterns on my bedroom wall, Mum would make me Vegemite toast. I’d eat it on the verandah with Maria, the next door neighbour’s daughter who was one year younger than me, propped up on a whitewashed ledge covered in baby blue and yellow plastic buckets, where Zacharati, Demetri’s mother, would hand-wash laundry. (34) The struggle between mother and daughter mirrors the struggle between mirror reflection and real person. Erika Bach’s own attempts to carve out a career while caring for a young daughter and dealing with debilitating pain and mis-diagnosis is like a secondary tale, made even more poignant by Bach’s letter that ends the book. Her role--both as antagonist, and as the most steadfast and constant ally in Bell’s battle for self-identity and creative fulfilment is both harrowing, and affirmative. Throughout the memoir, Bell very deftly weaves in the present, continually testing the past against a revised perception, and creating a slightly meta-fictional quality to the work that is post-modern in its conceits while still sticking closely to the memoir format. Bell’s many ‘lives’ include lots of rock and roll, love affairs, loss, and even a suicide attempt.  The story is bolstered by footnotes, a website full of photos, and lots of musical links to give what is already a powerful read a multimedia impact.  Dear Reflection is one of those memoirs that really draws you in and will stay with you long after it’s finished.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Clare Flynn

    This raw, unsparing, insight into life as the only child of a pair of gothic rock musicians is a compelling read. Jessica Bell grew up in Melbourne in a home where her parents struggled to make ends meet and her mum, Erika, battled against the stranglehold of prescription drug addiction, alcohol, pain and years of horrific withdrawal symptoms. Jessica spares no one in her no-holds barred revelations - but most particularly herself. From her earliest schooldays she saw herself as a misfit, wantin This raw, unsparing, insight into life as the only child of a pair of gothic rock musicians is a compelling read. Jessica Bell grew up in Melbourne in a home where her parents struggled to make ends meet and her mum, Erika, battled against the stranglehold of prescription drug addiction, alcohol, pain and years of horrific withdrawal symptoms. Jessica spares no one in her no-holds barred revelations - but most particularly herself. From her earliest schooldays she saw herself as a misfit, wanting to be accepted, but somehow always being different. Her teens saw her turning to the oblivion granted by alcohol as she was caught between loneliness at school and a constant battleground at home as Erika wrestled with her own demons and Jessica was forced at times into the role of carer - something she often refused to do, then suffering the consequent guilt. Losing her virginity to rape, then a teenage abortion, booze, depression, self-loathing - they're all there. All this sounds like the ingredients for a depressing read - but this is no misery memoir. Interweaving all this is Jessica's indomitable spirit and plurality of talents. A guitarist, singer, now with a successful Greek band, a novelist, poet, author of books on writing craft, a talented designer, publisher and (at one point) a successful if reluctant entrepreneur with a gourmet sandwich bar! - Jessica Bell is a true Renaissance woman. Most importantly this is also a book about love - throughout all their ups and downs, battles and impassioned declarations of hatred, there is no doubting the love between Jessica and her mother. It can't have been easy for Erika to have her daughter bare both their lives in this way, so it is a tribute to her courage and pride in her daughter. A moving coming of age story - highly recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Liza Perrat

    essica Bell’s unflinching and unbridled memoir is set in 1980s Melbourne, where she grew up with rocker parents who encouraged her to play her own guitar and write her own songs. This might sound exotic and exciting, but proved to be just the opposite. Her mother’s medical problems led her to abuse pills, alcohol and, during withdrawals, to suffer terrible anxiety and psychotic attacks. Fearful of these reactions, her step-father retreated into silence. Having no one to confide in, and to rely o essica Bell’s unflinching and unbridled memoir is set in 1980s Melbourne, where she grew up with rocker parents who encouraged her to play her own guitar and write her own songs. This might sound exotic and exciting, but proved to be just the opposite. Her mother’s medical problems led her to abuse pills, alcohol and, during withdrawals, to suffer terrible anxiety and psychotic attacks. Fearful of these reactions, her step-father retreated into silence. Having no one to confide in, and to rely on, Jessica turned inwards, to her own reflection. But her mirror proved not to be a friend, but her enemy, and she stumbled into alcoholism, depression and self-destruction. She became a rebel. Until, one day, the alcohol literally almost killed Jessica and she was forced to ask herself honestly, why she kept running from reality. And from herself. This memoir is a raw and brutally honest account of Jessica’s damaged years, and the inspirational self-determination she was able to muster to break free from this destructive wave. It portrays how her highly creative powers, both in music and writing, helped her rebuild the love, shattered by illness and medication, between a daughter and her mother. This is a moving, frightening, intense and beautifully-narrated page-turner, where the reader can’t help but sympathise with Jessica, and hope she finds her way out of the black hole. Highly recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Damien

    Dear Reflection: I never meant to be a Rebel is a journey into the very nature of our being, from the time we understand our emotional wants, to the turmoil that is adolescence, we are constantly staring at a mirror with a question that dances on our tongue like a ballerina. Who are you? We ask ourselves this question in the hope that the one staring back will have the answer. With Dear Reflection Jessica Bell tries to answer that question, we see her struggle to be accepted by her peers and to Dear Reflection: I never meant to be a Rebel is a journey into the very nature of our being, from the time we understand our emotional wants, to the turmoil that is adolescence, we are constantly staring at a mirror with a question that dances on our tongue like a ballerina. Who are you? We ask ourselves this question in the hope that the one staring back will have the answer. With Dear Reflection Jessica Bell tries to answer that question, we see her struggle to be accepted by her peers and to show the world that she is more then what others perceive her to be. Her story touches the heart as we explore her upbringing and the trials she faces, her story is forthright and confronting, never pulling any punches, we are constantly hit with her emotional being, her story becomes our story as we are caught up in events that we can't control. We never mean to be rebels, and Jessica shows us that a rebel resides in all of us, how we deal and cope with that fact is a very important part of life. We may feel alone surrounded by friends and family, but that rebel inside of us the one we feel is fighting against the world has one special quality that won't be found anywhere else, and that is Hope. No matter what happens, hope is there to see us through, even though we may not see it ourselves. Dear Reflection is a highly readable memoir, almost to the point where it doesn't feel like reading at all, but more like absorbing the content directly into your mind. She trusts the reader to fill in the blanks so the narrative is never bogged down with unwanted detail. Each page is a new discovery as we explore the world through her eyes. When I had to put the book down I was eager to return. Jessica Bells memoir is an exploration of her being and I feel that you will understand this talented individual and the amazing experiences she has yet to offer us and be better for it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    La La

    This book was everything I wanted it to be, and more. It was everything it needed to be, and more. It was real and honest. Please don't read those fiction books with characters in the music business written by authors who have never been in the music business, anymore. Read about the real thing; the real people. The story spanned many years, so you see how Jessica viewed the experiences of her life as a child, teen, young adult, grown woman and how perspectives change from one age to another, loo This book was everything I wanted it to be, and more. It was everything it needed to be, and more. It was real and honest. Please don't read those fiction books with characters in the music business written by authors who have never been in the music business, anymore. Read about the real thing; the real people. The story spanned many years, so you see how Jessica viewed the experiences of her life as a child, teen, young adult, grown woman and how perspectives change from one age to another, looking back on the previous ages. I thought this book was well thought out in this respect. I also liked the element of her mirror reflection's reactions to what was going on in "their" life. There were a couple of things I didn't agree with mental healthwise: like, there being no reason for her depressions, other than brain chemistry, when her circumstances strongly pointed to environmental depression, and the thought that she should bear just as much guilt and responsibility as her mother for their strained relationship during her teen years. That killed me because a teenage Jessica had every right to be angry and act out because her mother was a drug addict, and a textbook case abusive parent at that time. She was a kid in need of a stable parent and the mother was the adult not taking responsibility, or being selfless enough to hand her child off to the stable parent. The story deals with self-doubt, depression, drug addiction, alcoholism, rape, abusive relationships, sexuality, and all kinds of love from the detrimental to the uplifting, and everything in between, in a brutally honest way. There are a lot of life lessons in this book. I was approved for an eARC, via Edelweiss, in return for and honest review. I will be reviewing this book, in full, on my blog and will add the link when it is posted.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    A few times a year I like to for reasons I have still to fathom grab a book without any previous knowledge and delve into it. Now, this might seem a bit risky but a) I have been very lucky in the books I have read this way and b) I will basically read anything with the exception of erotic novel. To be honest they make me cringe to read. So to the book at hand. I am starting to get more and more into autobiography lately. spending time in someone else shoes is proving to be a very enlightening a A few times a year I like to for reasons I have still to fathom grab a book without any previous knowledge and delve into it. Now, this might seem a bit risky but a) I have been very lucky in the books I have read this way and b) I will basically read anything with the exception of erotic novel. To be honest they make me cringe to read. So to the book at hand. I am starting to get more and more into autobiography lately. spending time in someone else shoes is proving to be a very enlightening and interesting adventure. Jessica takes us into her world and shines a light into the darkest areas of her life. For some, the stories she tells are things people would probably relegate to a forgotten part of their memory hoping no one will remember them. She comes through with a raw honesty and power that drew me in and kept me focused as I spent time learning her story. Over the course of her childhood Bell seems to have gone through a hell of a lot to get to where she is now. To make this easier for the reader the book is broken up into five sections each dealing with set points in her life, all told in chronological order. In the telling of her story, the author deals with some fairly heavy subject. She spends most of her school life being bullied to one extent or another. This I think forming the bedrock of a lot of her self-esteem issues. I liked her use of the reflection in the mirror to give form to these thoughts and feelings she had about herself. It shows with great poignancy the give and takes between Bell and her subconscious and the demons she had to fight. Some of these I have to say did resonate with me I guess no matter how much time and distance we put between us and the time we spend growing up, we still carry this baggage the rest of our lives. But I think in Bells case she has come to own this trauma. The women writing this book is not entirely the same one who lived those events. She also details the troubled relationship she has with her parents. They being a semi-famous bad in Australia during the nineteen nineties. This is ever more present in the passages that take place between Bell and her mother. Theirs seems to be a battle of words as much as it was actions. Each seemingly trying to hurt one another without actually laying a finger on each other. I am glad that the author chose to give context in later chapters to these actions, It stopped it from becoming a tale of the wicked mother. Each dealing with their pain through abuses of different substances. Alcohol playing a huge part in her teenage years leading to situations she probably otherwise never would have found her self in. Thus, in turn, adding to more self-doubt and causing every increasing depression. But however, you chose to self-medicate you can never outrun that particular wolf. More than any part of this book the way in which she openly talks about her mental health issues dug down deep into me. Having spent so long dealing with my own problems, It somehow felt reassuring to read about someone who dealt with some of the same problems I have been through. I think it is hard enough to deal with these thoughts and feelings internally, but it takes a very brave person to put them down on to paper and then send them out into the world. This book is a powerful message to others out there that they are not alone, and you can make it out the other side. How changing the people around you can sometimes have a huge impact on how you see your little corner of the planet. But it is also a story of a complicated and mixed up woman trying to find her place in the world. Some time brutally honest to the point of making you feel uncomfortable than to be brought back from the edge by sharing her moments of triumph and a few laughs. this is a book and person well worth spending some time with

  9. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    Bravo Jessica! Such an inspirational memoir. Jessica lives through years of self-doubt and self-hatred. Her mother has her own debilitating issues, but continues to support and encourage her daughter. Thankfully Jessica overcomes her demons and gets on with her life becoming a successful editor, publisher and singer. I was surprised, disturbed and really moved by her memoir (I've worked with her on a couple of book covers). I highly recommend it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ursula Kovačević

    Not a book for the faint hearted. But a book - an insight or a ray of hope to toxic relationships that come through it battle scars and all. This book will be one to remember. Be prepared to be challenged in every page in the book! Reading this book was like standing on the edge of a river- and throwing pebbles to skim and skip across the water causing ripples, or sinking while deciding whether to sink or swim. My mind was left tangled and my heart shredded from the process of reading and absorb Not a book for the faint hearted. But a book - an insight or a ray of hope to toxic relationships that come through it battle scars and all. This book will be one to remember. Be prepared to be challenged in every page in the book! Reading this book was like standing on the edge of a river- and throwing pebbles to skim and skip across the water causing ripples, or sinking while deciding whether to sink or swim. My mind was left tangled and my heart shredded from the process of reading and absorbing the manic mayhem of Jessica's life - between Erika and herself - the raw honesty of wounds that cut so deep, exposed. I was nauseous -yet compelled to read the story. I felt shame as history was repeating itself in parts. Throughout it all- the author was authentic Her sheer determination, stubbornness and strength prevailed. This was an incredible exercise for the author to undertake- and still what shines through are her skills and talent to protect and deflect even those that should have been protecting her. Reading between the lines - ones that were never written (too much material to work with I guess ) I see Jessica as still vulnerable and powerful at the same time. Congratulations on being able to honestly share her insecurities, her burdens, her demons . I envisage that the author is now standing in the sunshine and has left the dark shadows behind . Enjoying the limelight that SHE so rightfully deserves.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mel (Epic Reading)

    Critiquing a memoir always feels almost unfair... you can't say that someone didn't feel the way they did or isn't being genuine; as likely they have explained things in the only way they know how. So how can you criticize them? The short answer is, you can't. The long answer is more complex. If I end up sounding like a heartless bitch by the end of this then I will only apologize to Jessica Bell to say that it's not about devaluing her experiences, it's about how they were written about and dis Critiquing a memoir always feels almost unfair... you can't say that someone didn't feel the way they did or isn't being genuine; as likely they have explained things in the only way they know how. So how can you criticize them? The short answer is, you can't. The long answer is more complex. If I end up sounding like a heartless bitch by the end of this then I will only apologize to Jessica Bell to say that it's not about devaluing her experiences, it's about how they were written about and discussed. I found this memoir to use 'shock' value moments in a very odd way. Not to send a morale or turn you straight message to the reader, not to show the progression of Bell as a person, but instead as an excuse. It's like each time something happens that is a 'big deal' Bell uses it as a reason for why it's okay to then do something else. This is not really a good message in my mind, especially for teens. I'd like to have read more about the actual consequences of her binge drinking, of having an abortion, etc. I'd also like to have read more about how those situations have made her the person she is today. Instead by the end of the memoir I feel like Bell has just made a myriad of excuses for why she hasn't done things in life that she maybe wanted to. Or is with the man she is with. That said, her definition of love is different; and this I commend her for. She does discuss how love is not a blinding moment or 'instant' and how sometimes it's hard to even see it. So I give her props for describing a non-typical relationship and allowing readers to maybe gain a sliver of insight into why people stay together that may not seem like a perfect match. Now alternatively you could easily say that Bell settled. But I will give her the benefit of the doubt here that she isn't taking the easy way out on this one. I think overall the glazing over of issues is what bugs me the most here. I hate when moments in life are used as a crutch or justification for why someone should receive sympathy... maybe it's because I can go toe-to-toe with Bell on a lot of situations I personally experienced as a teen myself. And maybe that isn't fair to her... but in my mind those experiences are not something to be used as a way to garner sympathy or used as an excuse. They are moments that make us stronger, more resilient and overall shape our personality today. They also inform our current decisions. And here is where I felt like Bell missed out in this memoir. She didn't connect her past decisions with her future ones. Let's face it, whether we like it or not, the things that have happened to us in the past ALWAYS influence the future us. While some may connect with Bell's story and her aloneness, I personally felt like this was missing something. Some piece of Bell that I craved. I still feel like I don't know her even after reading this. I feel like I know about her; but don't actually know HER. Overall if you want to read a shock value story about drugs, alcohol and how damaging it can be; read Go Ask Alice instead. To read this and more of my reviews visit my blog at Epic Reading Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amie McCracken

    Raw and riveting. Truly an experience to read this memoir. It reads like a novel, until a date pops up, or you sit back and realize this is the author's actual life on display. And because of that it is all the more gut-wrenching. With her usual gorgeous prose and passion, Jessica shows her world and not only takes you on the journey but brings it all to a wonderful conclusion (though it is almost another beginning for her).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Deb McEwan

    Brutally honest and gut-wrenching, I couldn’t put this book down. It’s the equivalent of watching a car crash – you know you shouldn’t rubberneck but just can’t help it. The author was on a collision course from a young age, trying to rid herself of her own demons and those of a loved one. I went from wanting to hug the teenager to wanting to sit her down and give her a piece of my mind. Such an interesting and sometimes tormented life; this could so easily be a tale of fiction. All the above ma Brutally honest and gut-wrenching, I couldn’t put this book down. It’s the equivalent of watching a car crash – you know you shouldn’t rubberneck but just can’t help it. The author was on a collision course from a young age, trying to rid herself of her own demons and those of a loved one. I went from wanting to hug the teenager to wanting to sit her down and give her a piece of my mind. Such an interesting and sometimes tormented life; this could so easily be a tale of fiction. All the above makes it a brilliant book, which I highly recommend no matter your genre or preferences. Five stars with bells!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul T.

    In an ideal world, childhood is a time that leaves us with idyllic memories of a perfect world when the sun shone every day and parents united in love provided a warm cosy protected environment where a girl or boy can explore their potential without a bump on the road to success in life. Jessica Bell’s childhood was not like that. Her first memories were of feelings of inadequacy as a result of a depressive condition, standing in front of a mirror being berated by her reflection, followed by her In an ideal world, childhood is a time that leaves us with idyllic memories of a perfect world when the sun shone every day and parents united in love provided a warm cosy protected environment where a girl or boy can explore their potential without a bump on the road to success in life. Jessica Bell’s childhood was not like that. Her first memories were of feelings of inadequacy as a result of a depressive condition, standing in front of a mirror being berated by her reflection, followed by her mother packing a bag and telling her to say goodbye to her stepfather. School didn’t improve the situation. Children are incredibly cruel and heartless and the weakest member of the crowd is an easy target for bullies. A child who is in any way different, whether in dress or attitude, is also a natural target, resulting in feelings of depression being exacerbated. Depression shows itself in many ways and Jessica Bell seems to have experienced most of them, right up to the point where ending her life appeared to be the only option to relieve the situation. She adopted many approaches to dealing with depression, beginning with alcohol. The book is a roller coaster ride through the life of a girl who began life in Melbourne Australia, spent time in Greece and lived life to the full, is probably lucky to be alive and has nevertheless achieved educational and artistic excellence. Her book on self-publishing, SELF –PUBLISH YOUR BOOK, A Quick and Easy Step-by-Step Guide, one of a number in her Writing in a Nutshell Series, is a gift to any aspiring writer. And though it might not seem like it for much of her story, Jessica tells us that her mother’s and stepfather’s love was absolute and unconditional. Eventually she tells us how she successfully found love, opened a sandwich bar on the Greek island of Ithaca, took to writing, went back to making music in Athens and discovered that happiness and freedom are choices. This is a terrific story of redemption that caused me to have leaky eyes more than once. Read it and be inspired.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Life is all about choices. So they say. It’s not entirely true. Maya Angelou didn’t choose to be black. Anne Frank didn’t choose to be Jewish. Jessica Bell didn’t choose to be raised by rock musicians. They could’ve been fundamentalist Christians like my parents. Or wolves. Normal is what you’re used to. It doesn’t really exist except as a good idea. As the cliché goes: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what if life hands you shit? Shit has its uses too If only for throwing at fans Life is all about choices. So they say. It’s not entirely true. Maya Angelou didn’t choose to be black. Anne Frank didn’t choose to be Jewish. Jessica Bell didn’t choose to be raised by rock musicians. They could’ve been fundamentalist Christians like my parents. Or wolves. Normal is what you’re used to. It doesn’t really exist except as a good idea. As the cliché goes: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what if life hands you shit? Shit has its uses too If only for throwing at fans or decorating your cell with. I was interested to read what Jessica had to say in a 2011 interview: Not every woman in this world lives without regret, knows exactly what they want, and has the courage to put every essence of their being into achieving their dreams. Not every woman is inspirational to others. Not every woman can leave their comfort zone to better their future. But, so what? Does that mean a less strong-minded woman doesn't have an interesting story to tell? Definitely not.The problem with most biographies and memoirs we run across is they’re by and/or about famous/successful people and it’s hard to relate to them. Success, of course, is relative and in many ways Jessica has been successful but at a cost. How much you will relate to her will depend very much on your own past and that’s why I struggled a bit with the book. Not because what she writes isn’t believable but because I couldn’t see myself in her. From what I’ve read in different reviews others have had far less problems and this book has really touched them: “Raw and riveting,” “Moving and inspirational,” “Brutally honest and every word a gem.” No matter who you are or where you grew up there will be something here for you. Read my full review on my blog here.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dieter Moitzi

    I’ve always loved to read nicely wrapped-up (auto)biographies, so I bought this book, partly out of pure curiosity or what you might call a certain voyeuristic penchant of mine, partly, I guess, because I simply wanted to get to know Jessica better, whom I count among my online acquaintances (I dare not call her “friend” as this would be presumptuous from me). And “Dear reflection” turned out an intriguing read. There’s none of the over-analysing and vain navel-gazing one could encounter in a le I’ve always loved to read nicely wrapped-up (auto)biographies, so I bought this book, partly out of pure curiosity or what you might call a certain voyeuristic penchant of mine, partly, I guess, because I simply wanted to get to know Jessica better, whom I count among my online acquaintances (I dare not call her “friend” as this would be presumptuous from me). And “Dear reflection” turned out an intriguing read. There’s none of the over-analysing and vain navel-gazing one could encounter in a less well written memoir. Throughout the whole book, I was struck and drawn in by the genuine, sincere and authentic voice, which was upheld by the well thought-out structure of the story. It’s this earnest voice combined with the singular story that made the read such a compelling one. I was surprised to look up after every other paragraph to think, to gaze back at my own past, to question my memories, to look for parallels and differences in both our lives. For an avid reader like me, it’s always pleasant to be “entertained” by a book in the sense of “taken out of my day-to-day life”, but that’s not the strongest point about “Dear Reflection”. It’s as if Jessica, by talking to her own reflection about her life so far, were holding up a mirror in front of me, asking me to probe and test the knowledge of my own past, to analyse my own way of reacting to the world that surrounds us, to try and walk down “memory lane” for myself the way she has done in this book. There’s only one regret, and I can’t refrain from expressing it—I would have loved the book to be longer! As much as I love her singing and as much as I understand her choices, I hope that Jessica will continue writing, nonetheless; I couldn’t shake off the odd feeling that this book was a Farewell of sorts to her writing career.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alison Cubitt

    To those who didn't know her, young Jessica must have seemed too cool for school. How many other mums on the school run in Melbourne's northern suburbs wore gothic black, had spiky hair and was in an indie band? How do you even begin to rebel against a lifestyle like that? The logical answer might be, by becoming someone straight, like an accountant, perhaps? But behind the scenes, Jessica's parents had their struggles: by day doing their best to give her a stable family upbringing, yet by night To those who didn't know her, young Jessica must have seemed too cool for school. How many other mums on the school run in Melbourne's northern suburbs wore gothic black, had spiky hair and was in an indie band? How do you even begin to rebel against a lifestyle like that? The logical answer might be, by becoming someone straight, like an accountant, perhaps? But behind the scenes, Jessica's parents had their struggles: by day doing their best to give her a stable family upbringing, yet by night they were playing gigs, striving to make it big. This seemingly carefree lifestyle took its toll on the family: it's hard to make a living from playing in a band and performing is hard, physical work. Jessica's mother was plagued by a back injury and took tablets to relieve the pain. But the drugs no longer seemed to work, so she upped the dose. And, as every child of an addict knows, soon the parent-child relationship reversed, as Jessica became a part-time carer. To cope she turned inwards. I hope that angst-ridden teenagers get to read Dear Reflection and take comfort from it. It's an inspiring story of one young woman trying to make her way in the world. And it is a testament to the strength of character of this remarkable mother and daughter that they found a way to work through their pain and turmoil to overcome their demons. And that despite the unconventional upbringing, there was no shortage of love, even when day-to-day life threatened to overwhelm them. Highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    Although it took me a while to get through this read, that isn't a reflection on the quality of the book at all. I have been caught up in editing a novel at the same time as reading this, but I finally got through this read. Jessica Bell weaves a compelling story of a painful coming-of-age in an unusual setting. As the daughter of rock'n'rollers in the 80s and early 90s, Bell certainly had an upbringing different to most of us - and yet I could still relate to parts of what she experienced, sinc Although it took me a while to get through this read, that isn't a reflection on the quality of the book at all. I have been caught up in editing a novel at the same time as reading this, but I finally got through this read. Jessica Bell weaves a compelling story of a painful coming-of-age in an unusual setting. As the daughter of rock'n'rollers in the 80s and early 90s, Bell certainly had an upbringing different to most of us - and yet I could still relate to parts of what she experienced, since I was also a child of the 80s and 90s. I loved the way the book progressed with its sections of Jessica talking to her reflection. It was intriguing to see her relationship with her reflection change over the course of the book as well. Jessica has led a life of adventure seemingly largely because of her constant need to run. But this book seems to represent a time in her life when she has finally stopped running and is facing her reflection at last - and coming to realise that her reflection is her friend, supporter, etc. As usual, this is a well-written book that compels the reader onward. It's even more special because of the bravery it took the author to put it out there for all to read and judge in whatever way they choose.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Indigo Roth

    This is a memoir of the formative years of one of self-publishing’s rising stars, Jessica Bell. It’s very much a tale of sex and drugs and rock’n’roll, but those are incidental to the real drama unfolding in Ms. Bells’ teenage life. I more clearly identified with her difficult home, switching schools, the fickleness of friends, self-destructive behaviour, coming to terms with relationships (both good and bad) and a yearning to evolve beyond it all. I’m unclear if there was a target audience in m This is a memoir of the formative years of one of self-publishing’s rising stars, Jessica Bell. It’s very much a tale of sex and drugs and rock’n’roll, but those are incidental to the real drama unfolding in Ms. Bells’ teenage life. I more clearly identified with her difficult home, switching schools, the fickleness of friends, self-destructive behaviour, coming to terms with relationships (both good and bad) and a yearning to evolve beyond it all. I’m unclear if there was a target audience in mind, but I was surprised to find it was accessible to both me (a forty-something white male) and to my teenage daughters. This might be because of the cleverly light writing style, the truth of the subject material, or that it is simply a good tale well told? Despite the pleasant flow to the narrative style, this is an emotionally-gruelling read in places. That said, there is no sense of the author lingering for effect or titillation; this is a woman who is telling a difficult truth without sensationalising it for the sake of sales. I take my hat off to her for the sheer honesty of it all. This is the first of Ms. Bell’s books that I have read, and I’m now keen to read the others. Highly recommended.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jean Gill

    Moving and inspirational. Rips the inadequate band-aid off childhood wounds and shows that healing is possible. Anyone who’s worked with disturbed adolescents will relate to Jessica’s story and learn from it. Many children bear the brunt of ‘caring’ for parents, forced into an adult role, and their voices are rarely heard. Jessica Bell speaks for every one of those children when she shares her pain and guilt. There is no safe place and teenage Jessica’s self-destructive urges, fuelled by alcoholi Moving and inspirational. Rips the inadequate band-aid off childhood wounds and shows that healing is possible. Anyone who’s worked with disturbed adolescents will relate to Jessica’s story and learn from it. Many children bear the brunt of ‘caring’ for parents, forced into an adult role, and their voices are rarely heard. Jessica Bell speaks for every one of those children when she shares her pain and guilt. There is no safe place and teenage Jessica’s self-destructive urges, fuelled by alcoholism and comfort sex, add to the likelihood that she will suffer. The vicious cycle is not easy reading but has an honesty and self-awareness that helps the reader understand why a youngster would behave this way. The fact that Jessica’s parents are rock stars adds glamour but not financial security to the story. Creativity proves to be a better friend than alcohol or sex, and is also the lifeline which allows the love between mother and daughter to reach an adult understanding, all the more beautiful for its roots in darkness.

  21. 4 out of 5

    westernway

    An autobiography by the child of rock and roll parents, this is gonna be a fun ride, or so I thought! Instead I felt myself feeling more and more sorry for Jessica and thought that how could no one else see that she was a child crying out for the love and attention of her parents. This is an unflinching memoir which charts the authors upbringing by her self-medicating mother albeit it through pills or alcohol, and her passive step father who really should have done more to help her. As a result o An autobiography by the child of rock and roll parents, this is gonna be a fun ride, or so I thought! Instead I felt myself feeling more and more sorry for Jessica and thought that how could no one else see that she was a child crying out for the love and attention of her parents. This is an unflinching memoir which charts the authors upbringing by her self-medicating mother albeit it through pills or alcohol, and her passive step father who really should have done more to help her. As a result of this chaotic upbringing the author herself becomes an alcoholic, suffers from depression and seems to be on the same self-destructive path as her mother. She does manage to overcome her demons thankfully, and through hard work and determination has managed to become a successful writer and publisher and has also followed in the family footsteps by becoming a singer. This was not an easy read by any means but the writers strength and determination shone through and made this a very worthwhile one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Adam Byatt

    Memoirs are interesting beasts to contend with; they are both the tamed version of a wild animal, and the visible representation of the wild beast whose life is bigger than you'll ever believe. Jessica Bell's memoir takes you through the brutality of a maelstrom of life of recklessness, hedonism, uncertainty and doubt through the motif of a mirror. The reflection we see in the mirror is a representation of who we are, who we want to be and how others see us. And by the end of the memoir we unders Memoirs are interesting beasts to contend with; they are both the tamed version of a wild animal, and the visible representation of the wild beast whose life is bigger than you'll ever believe. Jessica Bell's memoir takes you through the brutality of a maelstrom of life of recklessness, hedonism, uncertainty and doubt through the motif of a mirror. The reflection we see in the mirror is a representation of who we are, who we want to be and how others see us. And by the end of the memoir we understand that our refection is all of those three, and there is no certainty that the one we want to be the clearest representation of ourselves will come to pass. It's not a moralistic fable, more a confessional tome that makes you look at your own reflection a little differently.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stella

    I don't like that rating this book because this is like I'm rating someone's life. That being said, this book didn't do it for me. Maybe I've read one too many bad childhood/artists memoirs. I've already read my fair share of drug abuse memoirs. This....this tried. Jessica Bell's writing is lovely and her life was pretty punk rock. While she touches on the pain of growing up full of self hate, to be perfectly honest, I feel like this is something she is still struggling with daily and I feel gro I don't like that rating this book because this is like I'm rating someone's life. That being said, this book didn't do it for me. Maybe I've read one too many bad childhood/artists memoirs. I've already read my fair share of drug abuse memoirs. This....this tried. Jessica Bell's writing is lovely and her life was pretty punk rock. While she touches on the pain of growing up full of self hate, to be perfectly honest, I feel like this is something she is still struggling with daily and I feel gross even saying that. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ann Epstein

    Jessica Bell’s memoir is a straightforward story of a young woman’s journey from alienation to self-acceptance. She tries to connect with family and peers, while seeing herself as a disconnected and divided soul. Her struggles with alcohol, and her mother’s parallel fight to overcome drug addiction, are told in stark, often painful incidents. Ultimately, this book is about the healing power of creativity. Through making art, fiction, and above all music, Bell defies despair and builds a satisfyi Jessica Bell’s memoir is a straightforward story of a young woman’s journey from alienation to self-acceptance. She tries to connect with family and peers, while seeing herself as a disconnected and divided soul. Her struggles with alcohol, and her mother’s parallel fight to overcome drug addiction, are told in stark, often painful incidents. Ultimately, this book is about the healing power of creativity. Through making art, fiction, and above all music, Bell defies despair and builds a satisfying life that gives her a cohesive identity.

  25. 5 out of 5

    David McCaffrey

    I had the privilege of meeting Jessica at an Amazon event before Christmas. Not being a particularly socially comfortable person, she was generous enough to briefly engage in a conversation with me where we chatted about her books, music and what I would soon discover, many other talents. I took the liberty to Google her and was amazed to discover what an extremely talented lady I just been talking to. towards the end of the event, Jessica invited me to join her group of friends and I ended my d I had the privilege of meeting Jessica at an Amazon event before Christmas. Not being a particularly socially comfortable person, she was generous enough to briefly engage in a conversation with me where we chatted about her books, music and what I would soon discover, many other talents. I took the liberty to Google her and was amazed to discover what an extremely talented lady I just been talking to. towards the end of the event, Jessica invited me to join her group of friends and I ended my day on a happy note having met some genuinely lovely and talented people. When the opportunity arose to read her memoir/autobiography I jumped at the chance, not because of a desire to know personal details of someone I hardly knew, but to discover just how talented she truly was and to gain some insight into what was obviously a very keen and powerful mind. Dear Reflection is one of the most humbling experiences you could ever wish to have reading a book. Jessica allows you into the most private and emotionally venerable parts of her multi faceted mind. Yet reading these moments, which are punctuated with many comedic tales, pathos, heartbreak and vision, you never once feel like to are being intrusive. On the contrary, you feel welcomed into the world of an extremely talented and engaging individual. Jessica eloquently describes the relationship she has with her Mum and her partner, Demetri, using the reflection element of the title as a quasi-meta mechanism to put you in to the mindset of her other self so to speak. It almost reads as a contemporary Jekyll and Hyde tale, with her inner voice battling against her own insecurities and ambitions that we, the reader, are privilege to be privy to. You walk with her through her childhood and teenage years, all the sway to adulthood, learning about her Mum's struggles along the way and how they coped as a family. Over the course of the book which leads up to the present, Jessica allows you access to her struggles, loves, losses and personal demons that potentially threatened to overwhelm her. Yet from it, I saw a lady of great courage, talent and a tale that should be an inspiration to anyone who has dreams and is uncertain of how to follow them. Jessica Bell proves that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything, despite what life may throw at you. After I finished reading Dear Reflection, I truly realised I had been in the presence of a true talent that day in London. I wished I had had the opportunity to speak to her more and hope one day I can. I cannot recommend this book enough, not only because you will most likely not find a more intimate and honest account of life and the struggles it can force upon families and individuals, but because it is written by a truly talented author who needs to be known the world around.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alyson

    Jessica certainly doesn't spare herself in her memoir - at times I was quite cross with her (in her past) for the decisions she made and things she did, but, the trick of a good memoir is to make the reader want to read more, which I did. Undeniably honest, frank and open, an interesting portrayal of how lives can be lived, not lived, messed up, and retrieved.

  27. 5 out of 5

    P. Kirby

    Riddle: "I feel your every move, I know your every thought. I'm with you from birth and I'll see you when you rot." Answer: Your Reflection ~The Riddler, from Gotham the TV series I have no idea who Jessica Bell is but the woman has some major issues with her reflection. Spanning the time from her turbulent childhood growing up with rock and roll parents (with the requisite sex and drugs) to now, Bell's memoir vacillates between recollections and her "conversations" with her reflection. I bought t Riddle: "I feel your every move, I know your every thought. I'm with you from birth and I'll see you when you rot." Answer: Your Reflection ~The Riddler, from Gotham the TV series I have no idea who Jessica Bell is but the woman has some major issues with her reflection. Spanning the time from her turbulent childhood growing up with rock and roll parents (with the requisite sex and drugs) to now, Bell's memoir vacillates between recollections and her "conversations" with her reflection. I bought this book because it was cheap and because the whole "rock 'n roll" childhood thing sounded pretty cool. Funny thing is Bell's narrative is short on bad girl/wild child action, and heavy with Bell's struggles growing up with a mother who is an addict. Which, for me is the book's weakest link. Bell and her mother Erika (the latter, in a letter at the end of the novel) go to great lengths to explain that Erika's addiction is the fault of doctors who prescribed addictive meds. Nevertheless, I hated--all caps HATED--Bell's assertion that her mother's behavior was somehow her fault, that she, as a child was responsible for mothering her mother. Which is fucking bullshit! Even if Mum's addiction was a doctor-induced problem, it is never the responsibility of a child to fix a broken or ailing parent. Especially when said parent's illness makes her violent and abusive. Bell's irritating whining about how Mum's problems were somehow her fault for not being more compassionate pissed me off. To the point where this was almost a DNF. It wasn't until Bell gets away from nutters-muther and goes to college that the story finally gets interesting. Despite my irritation with Bell's excuses for her mom's terrible behavior, there are many instances where she is my spirit animal. A strange girl, oversensitive and given to crippling introspection and self-doubt. Always trying desperately to be liked. Yep. Been there, bought the commemorative T-shirt. Bell's approach to detailing her inner self is raw, open and emotionally exposed and that is what makes her memoir worth reading, other irritations aside. I'm not sure, however, precisely how, in what way, Bell is a "rebel," though. Overall, her lifestyle is fairly tame. (Rating revised because this just too "meh" for three stars.)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Crazybooklady

    Dear Reflection is a very well written and thoughtful memoir from a writer that is obviously very talented. The story is interesting and you get a decent feel for the characters involved. I do mostly recommend this book, just very cautiously as it is not for everyone.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anne O'Connell

    This is an intense memoir with raw, honest emotion. Initially I felt like a voyeur but was quickly drawn in and then I became Jessica's cheerleader. I can't wait for the next one!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Annalisa Crawford

    A haunting memoir, poignantly and beautifully written.

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