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NICKELS: a tale of dissociation by author Christine Stark, takes us through the life of Little Miss So and So, a child living through horrendous physical & sexual abuse at the hands of her father. While her mother, the one parent most are able to count on, turns the other cheek with full knowledge of what her husband is doing to their child.

NICKELS also guides us through Little Miss So and So's development and discovery of her sexuality & the homophobia that comes along with it. We see what Little Miss So and So needs to do, to cope with the life she's been born into.

  • Friendships that never have a chance to develop, for fear of discovery of Little Miss So and So's home life.
  • The lack of trust that has been stolen from her because of the dysfunctional relationship between Little Miss So and So and her parents.

The one person who has loved Little Miss So and So, unconditionally, but from afar, is her Aboriginal grandmother. Whom I suspect knows something is not right, but is waiting for her granddaughter to tell her what is wrong. One of my favourite lines that always ends their phone conversations is, "You are the cream in my coffee too granddaughter." One of the few soft spots in the book.

This is the first time that I've read a novel in the form of several prose poems. It took me until Age 10 (the novel follows main character, Little Miss So and So by age) before I could get into a regular, reading rhythm. Until Age 10 it took me 3 times as long as it normally would, to finish a page. Eventually I found myself able to visually add the punctuation where they "normally" would be in a traditionally written novel. Therefore making it easier on myself to follow the flow of the book.

This work of fiction allows the readers to get a glimpse of the ramifications of what can and does occur to people who are sexually abused.

  • Mental health issues that are more common then not. In the case of Little Miss So and So, dissociation.
  • The lifelong issues with trust. Even with the therapy there is often a war with one's self, to not fall back into feelings of worthlessness, or not being good enough.
  • Establishing relationships as an adult are often something that is continually worked on, throughout life.
  • Not falling into different kinds of abusive relationships because that is what the abused is use to and or feels that this is all that they are worth.

I didn't find NICKELS: A Tale of Dissociation overly disturbing because I know that this is a very unfortunate, but very real part of every society around the world. An issue that we as a society should not be afraid to address. For those who are sensitive to the subject of sexual abuse/homophobia this novel may be hard to get through, but it's well worth it in the end. Christine Stark has a writing style that will make you feel as though you embody the spirit of her characters. For me, I was able to anticipate Little Miss So and So's thoughts and actions towards the end of novel. Not in a predictable way, because the writing has been done before, but because at times I felt that I was Little Miss So and So. Before I started to read this book, I knew what the subject matter was, so I didn't let the turmoil of the character follow me into my life, when I put the book down.

I give NICKELS: a tale of dissociation 4/5.

( I was compensated for this book review, but if I didn't like it, I would have said so. Links may not work in all countries.)

*Book give away. Open to Canada, United States & the United Kingdom. Starting at the publication of this post April, 20th, 2012. It will run until April, 27th, 2012, 11:59 pm EST. Click here for more details. Contest closed.

Till next time,

Nadia