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Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery

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She invites the reader into her life and into the questions raised by a crime with no obvious solutions or easy answers. We see the dimensions of a human struggle often kept hidden from view. While there are an estimated twelve million rape survivors in the United States, rape is still unspeakable, left out of our personal and cultural conversation. In Telling, Francisco h She invites the reader into her life and into the questions raised by a crime with no obvious solutions or easy answers. We see the dimensions of a human struggle often kept hidden from view. While there are an estimated twelve million rape survivors in the United States, rape is still unspeakable, left out of our personal and cultural conversation. In Telling, Francisco has found a language for the secret grief carried by men and women who have survived rape.


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She invites the reader into her life and into the questions raised by a crime with no obvious solutions or easy answers. We see the dimensions of a human struggle often kept hidden from view. While there are an estimated twelve million rape survivors in the United States, rape is still unspeakable, left out of our personal and cultural conversation. In Telling, Francisco h She invites the reader into her life and into the questions raised by a crime with no obvious solutions or easy answers. We see the dimensions of a human struggle often kept hidden from view. While there are an estimated twelve million rape survivors in the United States, rape is still unspeakable, left out of our personal and cultural conversation. In Telling, Francisco has found a language for the secret grief carried by men and women who have survived rape.

30 review for Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery

  1. 5 out of 5

    C.C. Yager

    Patricia Weaver Francisco edited my novel, Perceval's Secret. At the time, I bought her memoir but didn't get a chance to read it until the last two weeks. Wow. This is a powerful, powerful book. Her descriptions of her PTSD captured the essential emotion, the disorientation at times, the dissociation. If you have ever wondered what PTSD is or how it affects people, Francisco shows what it is and how it affected her. I loved her description of time as being a circle, too. PTSD can be triggered ag Patricia Weaver Francisco edited my novel, Perceval's Secret. At the time, I bought her memoir but didn't get a chance to read it until the last two weeks. Wow. This is a powerful, powerful book. Her descriptions of her PTSD captured the essential emotion, the disorientation at times, the dissociation. If you have ever wondered what PTSD is or how it affects people, Francisco shows what it is and how it affected her. I loved her description of time as being a circle, too. PTSD can be triggered again years later if an issue or memory has not been completely processed. The description of her rape does not begin the memoir and I thought that was a wise decision. We first get to know her a little before she hits us with the life-changing event. I was struck by her memory of her dissociation and the accuracy of the description. The human mind has a wonderful collection of coping mechanisms that help us survive and dissociation is one of them. Her immediate post-rape reactions were wrenching to read making me think of how true to reality they were. The long chapter toward the end, "Justice," is also wrenching at times, but gave me a lot of insight into Francisco's thought processes and what insights she gained from the experience of observing the trial of a serial rapist. One point that comes up over and over in this book is how few books there are about women's experience with rape. It takes a lot of courage, of fearlessness to write about an experience that is both violent and intimate at the same time. Francisco shatters all the myths about rape, too. I highly recommend this book, especially for men to read (especially older men still influenced by outdated beliefs about rape), and rape survivors who feel alone. You are not alone.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Dyson Eitelman

    The highly personal story of a woman who survived and even overcame--after a long, long time--a rape by a stranger who broke into her house when her husband was out of town. And by extension, the stories of many other women. I'm not saying their stories are alike, only that they all share certain elements that lingered long after the bruises and pain should have faded. Feeling of powerlessness, worthlessness, irrational (and rational) fear. A marriage on the edge despite a strong, supportive husb The highly personal story of a woman who survived and even overcame--after a long, long time--a rape by a stranger who broke into her house when her husband was out of town. And by extension, the stories of many other women. I'm not saying their stories are alike, only that they all share certain elements that lingered long after the bruises and pain should have faded. Feeling of powerlessness, worthlessness, irrational (and rational) fear. A marriage on the edge despite a strong, supportive husband. She quotes a certain statistic about marriage after rape that I won't write here, because that would deprive you of the impact it had on me when I read it in context. Nightmares, flashbacks, bad therapists. Her rapist was never found, but ten years after the event she attended the trial of a serial rapist in a nearby neighborhood. He had a similar approach--watch the house or apartment, enter when he was fairly sure a woman was alone, cover her eyes, and steal whatever money or sell able property was around. In the one case where there were two men in the apartment attacked, the difference between the men's reaction and hers was shocking. They all fought back--she had fought desperately and blindly, finally suffering a cut so deep that the attacker had to wrap it in a sheet. But the two men bided their time, caught their opportunity and found with effectiveness. (And a hockey stick.) That trial alone made the whole painful book worth enduring. Read it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lieca Brown Hohner

    This is exactly the book I needed to help in my healing. So REAL. I wish I had already read it when I met her; I would have fawned all over her. She's an extraordinary writer in her own right, yet writing a memoir of such a personal and disturbing subject as rape has to be the greatest challenge. Francisco is raw yet delicate, assertive - even funny at times - descriptive but not callous, sensitive but not squishy-soft. Relatable about a deep, disruptive and taboo subject. I will hold this book f This is exactly the book I needed to help in my healing. So REAL. I wish I had already read it when I met her; I would have fawned all over her. She's an extraordinary writer in her own right, yet writing a memoir of such a personal and disturbing subject as rape has to be the greatest challenge. Francisco is raw yet delicate, assertive - even funny at times - descriptive but not callous, sensitive but not squishy-soft. Relatable about a deep, disruptive and taboo subject. I will hold this book forever and read it several times more. Thank you, Patricia.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    I appreciated a number of things about this book. This is centrally and importantly a relating of her own assault and its before's and after's, but more broadly it's a musing over rape and the threat of it, and the pervasive impacts of those things, both the obvious and the less visible [to some]. It also offers brief glimpses into US/Minnesota/Twin Cities history of the '70s, '80s and '90s, in terms of cultural and legal shifts regarding rape & domestic assaults, how rapes were (or were not) co I appreciated a number of things about this book. This is centrally and importantly a relating of her own assault and its before's and after's, but more broadly it's a musing over rape and the threat of it, and the pervasive impacts of those things, both the obvious and the less visible [to some]. It also offers brief glimpses into US/Minnesota/Twin Cities history of the '70s, '80s and '90s, in terms of cultural and legal shifts regarding rape & domestic assaults, how rapes were (or were not) covered by the media, and how cases were addressed in court (including details about the admissibility of DNA evidence, the right to a victim impact statement, etc.). It's interesting to read it now, in the current era of #MeToo; to have a glimpse into how much has changed, and how much is heartbreakingly similar or the same. I was moved throughout the memoir by the way that members of her communities stepped in to show their love and support, and by reading the descriptions of awareness/support efforts in the '70s, '80s, and '90s, through speak-outs, marches, and traveling exhibitions. A wrenching but beautifully executed book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sally Kenney

    Francisco was raped by a stranger in, I believe, 1981, so this account published in 1999 does not have the benefit of the "flowering" or rape memoirs and writing of late, yet, like Lara Naughton's beautiful Jaguar Man, is a deeply literary account of rape AND recovery. Like Irritable Hearts, Telling offers no sugar coating about the difficulties that lie ahead for survivors and love cannot conquer all. I wish I had read this book earlier on my journey, but perhaps reading it later enabled me to Francisco was raped by a stranger in, I believe, 1981, so this account published in 1999 does not have the benefit of the "flowering" or rape memoirs and writing of late, yet, like Lara Naughton's beautiful Jaguar Man, is a deeply literary account of rape AND recovery. Like Irritable Hearts, Telling offers no sugar coating about the difficulties that lie ahead for survivors and love cannot conquer all. I wish I had read this book earlier on my journey, but perhaps reading it later enabled me to better appreciate its beauty and insight.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anne Reeder Heck

    An incredibly powerful book. I'm grateful to read from an intelligent and insightful writer who is courageous enough to put this type of trauma into words. Thank you. An incredibly powerful book. I'm grateful to read from an intelligent and insightful writer who is courageous enough to put this type of trauma into words. Thank you.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    It is discouraging how long the recovery part takes, but it is still important to know that it can come.

  8. 5 out of 5

    courtney

    this is an amazing and heart-opening read. i may buy additional copies to pass around to everyone i know. i certainly want loved ones to read it. the clarity of her voice and the perspective she takes on her rape -- and her insistence on using the word RAPE -- are enormous to me. she looks through the years back at her rape and its aftermath and says what so few of us want to hear, but i think we know is true: we are no longer the same. like reading alice sebold's book, lucky, i am aware that t this is an amazing and heart-opening read. i may buy additional copies to pass around to everyone i know. i certainly want loved ones to read it. the clarity of her voice and the perspective she takes on her rape -- and her insistence on using the word RAPE -- are enormous to me. she looks through the years back at her rape and its aftermath and says what so few of us want to hear, but i think we know is true: we are no longer the same. like reading alice sebold's book, lucky, i am aware that the author is a writer -- that sounds redundant, but i mean that the author of the book has a care for language and the language used around rape is always charged and coded: the book opens with a lexicon listing the words rape, rapacious, rapport, ravish, ravishing, rapt, rapture, report... the overlap between the words and their origins is startling. her consideration of language, especially the telling of stories, runs throughout this book, starting with the rape itself during which, like scheherezade, she told stories to keep her rapist aware of her humanity and prolong her life. she also intersperses the bedtime stories that she tells, years later, to her young son. i cried several times while reading this -- and more often felt that i was being offered something special hearing this story.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leonard

    As Louise Erdrich wrote, this book is written "with honesty about an act of evil." This book is also written with great literary skill making it more than a memoir of one woman's experience, but a meaningful statement about all people who have been victimized by evil. In an important paragraph the author quotes Judith Herman from her book "Trauma and Recovery:" "Restoration of the breach between the traumatized person and the community depends, first, upon public acknowledgement of the traumatic As Louise Erdrich wrote, this book is written "with honesty about an act of evil." This book is also written with great literary skill making it more than a memoir of one woman's experience, but a meaningful statement about all people who have been victimized by evil. In an important paragraph the author quotes Judith Herman from her book "Trauma and Recovery:" "Restoration of the breach between the traumatized person and the community depends, first, upon public acknowledgement of the traumatic event, and second, upon some form of community action" (Page 58). One aspect of being victimized is clarified by the author in that such a traumtic experienced changes one forever. Recently I saw the movie "The Dry Land" about a Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD. Like the soldier who was traumatized in war, the victim of rape and abuse is also permanently changed by the experience. No one can go back to the place they were at before being the target of abuse. The author makes that clear. We can be thankful that people like Ms. Francisco have the courage to write about the trauma they experienced. Without the courage to tell their story, healing is delayed and others are less likely to understand and have empathy. An excellent reading choice.

  10. 5 out of 5

    loafingcactus

    I think the author does a really great job of crafting the narrative of her experience with information about the topic until near the end. She seems to try three different "now for the hopeful if not happy ending" endings, none of which really work. I can see the difficulty in finding an end that suits, but still, that could have been done better. If I could have voted for one, I would have voted for putting all the eggs in basket #3. I think the author does a really great job of crafting the narrative of her experience with information about the topic until near the end. She seems to try three different "now for the hopeful if not happy ending" endings, none of which really work. I can see the difficulty in finding an end that suits, but still, that could have been done better. If I could have voted for one, I would have voted for putting all the eggs in basket #3.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    To write this book required great strength and stamina, and there is never any question of the level of control needed and fulfilled. The weaving of Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen is a nice little layer. Brings up good questions but doesn't necessarily answer them. To write this book required great strength and stamina, and there is never any question of the level of control needed and fulfilled. The weaving of Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen is a nice little layer. Brings up good questions but doesn't necessarily answer them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Bergman Carlin

    Beautiful book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rita Kovtun

    A brimming memoir that takes you through Weaver's rocky, but rewarding journey of self-healing. A brimming memoir that takes you through Weaver's rocky, but rewarding journey of self-healing.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This is one of those books that's difficult to take, and that's what makes it extremely important. For everyone. This is one of those books that's difficult to take, and that's what makes it extremely important. For everyone.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ross Holmes

    This is one of the most important books I've ever read. It will stick with me for a long time to come. This is one of the most important books I've ever read. It will stick with me for a long time to come.

  16. 5 out of 5

    René

    Very good writing. I'd be interested in reading anything else by her--her novels or poetry for example. Though I wasn't as interested in the sections rehashing the Snow Queen story. Very good writing. I'd be interested in reading anything else by her--her novels or poetry for example. Though I wasn't as interested in the sections rehashing the Snow Queen story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    This book is a remarkable memoir that discusses a horrendous, all too common crime that we are taught to keep silent about. Ms. Francisco's story is one of hope and coming full circle. This book is a remarkable memoir that discusses a horrendous, all too common crime that we are taught to keep silent about. Ms. Francisco's story is one of hope and coming full circle.

  18. 5 out of 5

    K

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah

  20. 5 out of 5

    Taree Johnson

  21. 4 out of 5

    James McConomy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brett

  24. 4 out of 5

    Barrett

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tori

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily Koester

  28. 5 out of 5

    Robin Gray-Reed

  29. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine Hecke

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mary

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