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Review by Lauren S. Smith
Arms Akimbo: A Journey of Healing, written by Audrey Roth, is the story of a terror-filled childhood and the aftermath of pain and healing. Roth chronicles her life from a childhood of sexual abuse and incest to the recovery process that led her to write this book for others.
From the age of three years old, Roth was repeatedly molested by her own father. As traumatic as this always is to a small child, Roth found ways to survive the pain and emotional distress. With the help of diverse groups of support, Roth was able to work through the healing process that all child-victim survivors must eventually face.
In Arms Akimbo, Roth tells of the various groups in her life that helped her heal. For example, from a spiritual standpoint, Rabbi Kleinbaum convinced Roth that she didn't have to embrace the Judaism of her parents, but could create the role that religion was to have in her life.
Artistically, a community called Mudflat in Massachusetts opened their arms and led Roth to find creativity in the molding of clay with her hands, while her mind worked through the pain in her heart.
Psychologically and emotionally, Roth gives credit to therapists such as Evelyn Schroeder, who was also a friend and mentor and supported Roth through her father's death and sorting through devastating memories. During late night phone calls to friends and supporters, Roth poured out her damaged heart and soul and the result was a network of love that helped her see that she had true value.
During the writing of Arms Akimbo, Roth also had the help and support she needed from friends, professionals and family members who believed in her writing and encouraged her to keep writing. The memories that Roth extracted during the journey of writing her book were painful, but she kept on going through tears of angst.
Roth describes her childhood existence as living in a "Jekyll and Hyde" home, where her father could be loving and nurturing when he was sober, but was another personality when he was drunk. From the outside, Roth's family looked ideal - a mother whom everyone thought was perfect and a father who was always the "life of the party." But, inside the family was another story. Alcoholism and child molestation were the dark little secrets within the family and were never spoken of.
As the years marched on, Roth realized that something was wrong - that emotionally, she felt as if a volcano was about to erupt. When she had her daughter, she knew that something had to be done and she began the journey of healing that was to take her into the deep recesses of her mind to face the demons that lived there.
Arms Akimbo: A Journey of Healing, written by Audrey Roth is an incredible story that can be a beacon of light for others who have gone through similar childhood traumas.