The best books where abuse survivors speak candidly about their secret lives before recovery

Who am I?

Abuse as a buzzword is so broad and big. Our stories are so unique in how we were neglected, abused, abandoned, not seen, beaten, or sexually molested, but what also differs is what area of our lives it affects. For some of us, it's our bodies and food. For others of us, it's addiction to drugs and alcohol. And then there is promiscuity or sexual isolation. As a survivor myself, and having written a book that covers how denial was my go-to in my abuse history, I'm always fascinated by the human’s desire to persevere and be resilient. As a survivor, I want to be part of opening the conversation about abuse up louder.


I wrote...

No Longer Denying Sexual Abuse: Making The Choices That Can Change Your Life

By Kim O'Hara,

Book cover of No Longer Denying Sexual Abuse: Making The Choices That Can Change Your Life

What is my book about?

We spend a majority of our lives as survivors with no clue what we are actually surviving. To protect us, our brains have frozen in time the incidents fueling our ability to be in denial. Unfortunately, the truth of our sexual abuse seeps out into all areas of our lives, causing us to behave like maligned versions of our true selves. We yell, when we are not yellers. We cheat, when we want love. We drink and abuse drugs when we want to see God. Only through facing the denial do we find our true selves hidden in the cobwebs.

Author O’Hara engages the reader with personal stories through a self-help lens. She strikes a balance of commiseration and guidance for any survivor at any stage in their recovery.

The books I picked & why

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Binge and Sprint: From Endless Cake to Recovery

By Naomi Joseph,

Book cover of Binge and Sprint: From Endless Cake to Recovery

Why this book?

I instantly could relate to Author Joseph’s list of excuses for why we binge eat as abuse survivors. Her book is relatable for any go-getter who secretly eats an entire cake. Joseph has many life wins, from marrying her true love, to achieving a multi-decade profession in NYC’s public school system. Underneath that grit and stamina lies a long battle with binge eating that started as a young girl to offset the verbal abuse by her father. As an abuse survivor, I disassociated from my body, and Joseph’s lifelong struggle with food helps me to feel not alone. With her book, I am profoundly grateful to know that the voices in my head wired for fear can be turned down. I can put down the brownies and the cake and shine in my life.  

Binge and Sprint: From Endless Cake to Recovery

By Naomi Joseph,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Binge and Sprint as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Have you ever stood at the kitchen counter urgently devouring insane amounts of frozen, stale hot dog buns dipped alternatively in jelly and almond butter, while on high alert for approaching humans?

After a lifetime of getting knocked to the ground by the same opponent, a Dark Voice, and then rising repeatedly while praying for a way out, Naomi Joseph wrote the rules of "Binge and Sprint:" Use cake as fortitude to steel yourself to plow ahead, and then keep moving, keep achieving, and never ever let the world see your suffering.

Never idle, Joseph takes the reader on a…


Fuchsia Parade: One Woman's Quest for Sex, Love and Redemption

By Heather Martin,

Book cover of Fuchsia Parade: One Woman's Quest for Sex, Love and Redemption

Why this book?

The fictional account of Kailee’s progression from risky promiscuity into recovery from abuse denial arrested me as Author Martin did not hold back in details. Kailee is successful and independent but her need to control men sexually to feel safe, while medicating herself with alcohol, prevents her from real intimacy. While books like Fifty Shade of Grey glorify sexuality and dominance, Fuchsia Parade unveils the truth behind an unquenchable sexuality, and a woman’s path to recovery. Any woman who is a survivor who aims to understand her sexual agenda will relate to Kailee’s redemption.

Fuchsia Parade: One Woman's Quest for Sex, Love and Redemption

By Heather Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fuchsia Parade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A riveting and fast paced story about one woman’s journey to save herself.

"An intriguing and powerful book. From the get-go, the author pulls the reader into the beautifully flawed life of the main character and takes the reader on a journey filled with sarcasm, sex, alcohol, success, truth, and healing. This book will be hard to put down and will leave you wanting more in the end." - Amazon Reviewer

“The type of central female character that great feminist novels are made of—complicated, flawed, badass, powerful, yet tender and compassionate upon further reveal through layers of story. Within the…


Inside Out: A Memoir

By Demi Moore,

Book cover of Inside Out: A Memoir

Why this book?

When more than three women recommend a memoir, especially one that is by someone famous, I have to pick it up. Usually, I am not attracted to the lives of famous people, partly because I worked in Hollywood for so long. I saw they were just people like us, playing roles and doing their jobs. But Demi Moore’s long battle with body dysmorphia stemmed from a cruel relationship with her mother, where she was even sold for money. As she finds her fame, she is never satisfied with her body, but acutely aware she is underpaid when compared to her famous husband. So on one hand, she can’t align with a personal image of self-love and worth, but somewhere inside is a voice that knows she deserves more. 

Inside Out: A Memoir

By Demi Moore,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Inside Out as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A Daily Mail Book of the Year. A Mail on Sunday Book of the Year.

Famed American actress Demi Moore at last tells her own story in a surprisingly intimate and emotionally charged memoir.

For decades, Demi Moore has been synonymous with celebrity. From iconic film roles to high-profile relationships, Moore has never been far from the spotlight - or the headlines.

Even as Demi was becoming the highest paid actress in Hollywood, however, she was always outrunning her past, just one step ahead of the doubts and insecurities that defined her childhood. Throughout her…


The Last Black Unicorn

By Tiffany Haddish,

Book cover of The Last Black Unicorn

Why this book?

Just when I said I wasn’t that interested in the lives of famous people, this book from hilarious and raunchy comedian Haddish came up on my reading list. Shock is an understatement when you read about the poverty and violence from which Haddish resurrects herself from. She doesn’t tell anyone about the abuse from which she emerges triumphant, to where you think perhaps this book is truly the expose of her truth. She plays her cards smart in her career, never sleeping around or downplaying her talents, even when homeless and unsure where her next paycheck will come from. She shows the reader that if your dream is big enough, you can come from hell and still step back up.

The Last Black Unicorn

By Tiffany Haddish,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Black Unicorn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish, comes The Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.

Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn't beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money-as the…


Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

By J. D. Vance,

Book cover of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Why this book?

What Hillbilly Elegy brought up for me as an abuse survivor is that grey area where one asks if exposure to violence that may not directly affect you is abuse. What do we do about our family members who are uneducated and violent, with aggression as a survival tactic in society. J.D. Vance felt loved by grandparents who were loyal but also extremely erratic in their behavior. He was also taught it was okay to retaliate to his oppressors with violence. His mother’s rage is also a fright for him, where he fears his life even when she doesn’t lay a hand on him. The violence in which he is raised is overt and cultural, but what is layered in the narrative is also how he must endure an endless string of his mother’s relationships. His home is never a safe haven, and from my standpoint, his mother lacks responsibility. Is his abuse? Again, one can debate as the word is not used it may not be, but from the standpoint of what a young person must suffer, I think the book teems with it.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

By J. D. Vance,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hillbilly Elegy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER Coming November 2020 as a major motion picture from Netflix starring Amy Adams and Glenn Close

'The political book of the year' Sunday Times

'A frank, unsentimental, harrowing memoir ... A superb book' New York Post

'I bought this to try to better understand Trump's appeal ... but the memoir is so much more than that. A gripping, unputdownable page-turner' India Knight, Evening Standard

J. D. Vance grew up in the hills of Kentucky. His family and friends were the people most of the world calls rednecks, hillbillies or white trash.

In this deeply moving memoir, Vance…


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