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Books & Poetry

Too Afraid to Cry

Books & Poetry

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Ali Cobby Eckermann’s verse-memoir, Too Afraid to Cry (Ilura Press, $28.95), is riveting, suspenseful and disturbing. The Indigenous poet stuns the reader with her capacity to forgive and her ability to see many sides of political and social issues.

The book opens with sexual abuse and moves through schoolyard bulling, verbal insults, racism and a loss of self-respect before Eckermann begins to find fulfilment when she is reunited with her birth mother.

Too-Afraid-to-Cry-coverAlthough she received unconditional positive regard from her white, adoptive parents, Eckermann never felt she belonged in the small South Australian town where she spent her formative years. Holidays at Sellicks Beach with Big Brother were wonderful, but she always returned to an invective of maltreatment by her peers.

It’s little wonder that at the age of 17 she ran away with the first person who showed a real interest in her. Unfortunately, her husband was violent and she escaped his clutches after shooting at him with his own rifle.

Eckermann made her way to Adelaide and made friends in the Indigenous community. Sadly, these people led her down a path where she sprinkled LSD and speed through a diet of alcohol and marijuana.

Her journey back to sanity, wellbeing and happiness has been a long one. Today, she has reconnected with her birth family and culture, and enjoys a completeness many of us cannot even fathom.

All this is told in a spare, lyrical style which is soothing and comforting, even though some of the topics covered are sickening. This is a memoir from a member of the stolen generation which will touch every reader.


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