My Father's Suitcase

My Father’s Suitcase: A story of family secrets, abuse and betrayal – an

Reviewed by Lily Andrews

My Father’s Suitcase” is a heartfelt memoir that chronicles author Mary Garden’s struggle with sibling abuse, an understudied and rarely spoken kind of domestic violence.  Purchase Here.

Garden’s life altered radically when her younger sister, Anna, began to physically abuse her during their childhood. Her reaction to this was one of fury and terror at what the sibling, who suffered from mental illness, might do to her next. Garden was always under the impression that her turbulent family life had a significant part in the disintegration of her connection with her sister since she had a violent father and a melancholy mother who was constantly running away from a past she could never bring herself to disclose to her spouse. Garden’s parents made her feel constantly alone by publicly supporting Anna’s actions and holding her responsible for all of her issues.

Her rivalry with her sister did not fade quickly; rather, it intensified throughout adulthood, leaving her deeply wounded and with a warped perspective on life. Garden was especially horrified to hear that her sister had embarked on a project that she believed to be an extension of her abuse. Her brother Robert and other family members were aware of the situation but opted not to notify her. This served as the last blow to her hopes of ending Anna’s pervasive hatred and rekindled her urge to exact reckoning—something she had long resisted doing.

The most prevalent type of domestic abuse today is the subject of this real, thoroughly researched story. Through it, the author exposes the behaviors and potential consequences experienced by those who attempt to conceal and repress their stress. This is the ideal book for people who have controlling or abusive siblings because it provides guidance on self-rescue and clarifies what many perceive to be typical sibling conflict. When sibling violence is ignored and persists in the lives of many individuals, society bears a heavy price.

My Father’s Suitcase” effectively illustrates the need to close the knowledge gap that currently exists on sibling abuse. “My Father’s Suitcase” is highly recommended.


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