Freak : The True Story of an Insecurity Addict by: Rebecca O’Donnell (iUniverse, Inc. 2010)
When asked to review what was described as “The True Story of an Insecurity Addict”, I was intrigued. After receiving the book and a quick comic strip created by the author, I had no idea what to expect and thank goodness because nothing could have prepared me for the horror inside. Rebecca’s memoir is filled with a gruesome emotional portrayal of abuse that the average person can literally never imagine. Most people will eventually admit to personality flaws that could leave their mental health vulnerable, but the ability of this author to describe in detail what her childhood and adulthood created within and the resulting struggle is amazing. To describe physical, emotional and sexual abuse and the consequences of those actions on a young child is to describe the worst atrocities mankind is capable of. She details how every decision is affected by the mental and emotional anguish which she is taught to believe as normal.
It is hard to put down before finding out the end of the story and if we can leave with that warm fuzzy feeling we’ve come to expect at the movies or in a book series. Perhaps sadly or perhaps just realistically, this is not the case. Rebecca weaves moments into the story that allow you to see bandaids on her wounds and so you expect to see light scars instead of scrapes and bruises fresh as the day they were made. Her story, however, is not over yet. Finishing the story, you get the sense that this really is the life of an addict, meaning it’s a lifelong struggle, but one that she has much better tools for now than in the beginning and she’s learning to use those each and every day. Being an artist, she brings a whole new meaning to the concept of art therapy and what brings out a person’s muse.
FREAK is an apt description of one’s reaction to reading this story, far more apt than the author’s description of herself.