Graphic confessions

2010-12-15 00:00

I NORMALLY steer clear of most celebrity­-type autobio­graphies as they often seem, in the main, solely motivated by gaining more publicity, and so integrity and authenticity are often lost.

However, when I was asked to read Indescribable – It’s easy to keep a bad secret written by local soap-queen Candice Derman, I decided to set aside my preconceptions and give it a try. A big mistake. This book is most definitely not for the faint-hearted.

As a child growing up in Johannesburg, Derman’s step-father began sexually abusing and later raping her until the age of fourteen. Her story centres around her relationship with him — in sordid detail. To be frank, from the very first sentence I had the urge to be sick.

Her inclusion of graphic and often sickening details seemed gratuitous and by the end of the book I was still left wondering how readers or the actress herself could benefit from the inclusion of such vulgar, offensive imagery. People may think I am being insensitive and judgmental, and perhaps I am, but at times I found it very hard to feel sorry for her as the disturbing physical details of her abuse overshadowed her emotional reactions and state of mind.

I cannot begin to imagine what it must feel like to have to endure so many years of horrific abuse, and when I hear stories of paedophilia, I am always left feeling outraged and deeply saddened.

I would like to think that by telling this story, Derman was trying to alert people to the shocking effects of sexual abuse or to somehow reach out to others who have had similar experiences. Perhaps through revealing her secret to the public she was purging herself of the fear and pain she had experienced for so many years.

Whatever her reasons were, I feel her story would have had a far more favourable reaction from me if she had focused more on the psychological effects, and how she learned to cope and finally move on with her life.

Candice Quinton

BOOK REVIEW

Indescribable – It’s easy to keep a bad secret

Candice Derman

Tafelberg

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