“A childhood defined by physical and sexual abuse leads to a tumultuous adolescence in Flook’s self-described “true-life novel.” Annalyn is the second child of her father’s second marriage. Her mother, once a maid, had married up into a well-off Southern family; as a parent, she’s cold, withholding, and physically abusive, obsessed with keeping up appearances in their conservative 1950s community. Annalyn’s 50-something father is distant and largely uninvolved in his children’s lives. As a result, she receives little affection from either parent. Initially, her grandmother’s home offers a welcome refuge from the cruelty at home, but then a slightly older female relative (herself a victim of sexual abuse) starts abusing Annalyn on her overnight visits. Annalyn’s overwhelming shame and confusion makes her unable to tell anyone about what’s really happening. Flook skillfully depicts the oppressive atmosphere; in one memorable scene, for example, Annalyn recalls playing alone in the barn’s grain bins, letting herself sink into the wheat and then fighting her way out. This recklessness foreshadows her later adolescent rebellions in which she sleeps around, steals cars, and drinks so much that she blacks out. Throughout, the author highlights the narrator’s struggle between her longing to be a “good” girl with her other “shameful” emotions: “I carried primal feelings: no confidence, no self-esteem, shame,” she remembers. The story has abuse at its center but its overarching tale of young women fighting to reconcile society’s expectations with other desires also resonates. It also helps that the author has an eye for detail; for example, the narrator recounts the clothes she wore (“a rosebud pink taffeta, with a matching pink grosgrain band around the strapless top”) and the cars people drove (“a red Alfa Romeo convertible”) with astonishing specificity, effectively drawing readers into the midcentury milieu. However, the story’s brutal emotional honesty is what keeps it moving.
A frank, sometimes-disturbing debut novel that highlights the darkness that can lurk within picture-perfect families.” – Kirkus ReviewsSee on Kirkus Reviews
WILL HAVE YOU CLUTCHING BOTH YOUR HEART AND YOUR BRAIN...
“Flook’s wild ride will have you clutching both your heart and your brain. The writing is superb and the hair-pin turns will keep you glued to every page. Buckle up and dive in, you’ll enjoy the ride from the first page to the last.” – Jack Grapes, author and coach of Method Writing
MUST READ FOR ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN TOUCHED BY DOMESTIC ABUSE...
“Kelly Flook’s moving, honest, and eye-opening memoir Shhhh! doesn’t miss a single detail of her arduous, almost impossible journey. Despite the painful content, this is a must read for anyone who has been touched by their own or others’ domestic abuse. … Kelly’s healing journey offers hope and wisdom.” – Barbara Bottner, award winning New York Times best-selling author
ONE OF THE BEST TREATISES ABOUT ABUSE THAT IS ON THE MARKET
…we almost hesitate to open the covers of this book, but that would be missing one of best treatises about abuse that is on the market. From birth on we are shown photographs and the details of a wretched abusive childhood, into elementary school, then high school and college and all along the way our guide explains the myriad forms of abuse she endured an the manner in which she coped. At book’s end she puts it all together – recounting the important names she has shared throughout her tortured life – and it feels like a cleansing confessional… Read this and become aware of a problem that is nearly epidemic – childhood abuse and its lasting impact on the development of good people. Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame Top 100 Reviewer.
A GUT WRENCHING STORY TURNS INTO A HEALING JOURNEY
Shhhh, Sad, Shocking and Sexy is a raw, nothing-held-back, personal story that is not light reading, and probably not appropriate reading for everyone. However, for those who are attempting to deal with their own emotional challenges and a history of sexual and domestic abuse, reading this book will be beneficial in your healing process. Reading Annalyn’s story will help you see that although your problems seem overwhelming, they may be minor in comparison to what Annalyn experienced from as early as she can remember. I suppose some would forgive Annalyn’s parents for their lack compassion and parenting skills. However, I am not one of those people. The author’s writing is from the heart, yet straight out of a horror show. How she survived is nothing short of amazing. Is it any wonder she struggled through school and into her adult years. There is just way too much history to sweep under the carpet. Ms. Flook is to be commended for her commitment to healing herself and for sharing her very heartbreaking story with the reading public. I truly admire authors who let the world into their most personal and private hell, and Flook is at the top of my admiration list. I can only hope that she has found contentment and happiness going forward. Linda Thompson Host of The Authors Show.
FRIGHTENING YET CATHARTIC IN ITS BRUTAL HONESTY
Out of the ashes of years of abuse and self destruction arises a woman of strength, wisdom and integrity. This book will take you on a journey that may seem alien, shocking or too close for comfort, depending on your own history. There are many kinds of abuse – some overt, others subtle, but all leaving their mark, and especially for girls and women, all too often resulting in similar behavior – that of self destruction. This is a book that is frightening yet cathartic in its brutal honesty. It is a picture of our society that is too prevalent – but still so invisible and so very damaging. Many thanks to Kelly Flook for having the amazing courage to tell her story so that others know they are not alone. She shows that no matter what has happened in the past, it is possible to heal and become happy and whole. Lori Thomas, 5-star Amazon review.
IF SHE MADE IT, SO CAN I
If you or anyone you know is dealing with ANY kind of ABUSE, please read C.K. Flook’s “Shhhh!” You won’t feel alone AND you’ll learn ALOT…..Finally someone shared such a raw truth story. It will either be a tough read or listen for you or you’ll really relate and say “If she made it, so can I !” Onward we all go, to better and better lives!! Marilyn Nyborg, 5-star Amazon review.