A Book a Week Review : Eleven Regrets by Mel Anderson

The district attorney started her direct examination. My father glared, but I sat under that glare, comfortable and confident. I would not be intimidated. I wanted to tell him that I remembered dancing to Candle in the Wind. I remember the coat you lent me on a cold day. I remember your apple pies. I remember your smiles. I even remember you picking up that little neighbor boy who fell off his bike and carrying him to his mother. But I cannot forget what you did to me, what you did to my brother.

Anderson, Mel (2015-05-13). Eleven Regrets . Little Bear Publications. Kindle Edition.
  • Eleven Regrets is, ostensibly, a memoir. A memoir written with a motive: to raise awareness for the victims of childhood abuse.
  •  The principal character of Eleven Regrets is also it’s author: Melissa. Melissa is a witness, and takes very little action until the last few chapters of the memoir. The action is propelled by the misconduct of the family at large.
    Empathy is the driving force behind the motivation to read the story. However, the retelling of the actions of child abuse is extremely difficult to read. It does turn the reader away from the narrative as we are programmed to do in daily life to avoid conflict.
  • What themes or motifs stand out? One key theme institutional failure that permits  abuse to exist. The church, the government, the community, the family all failed the children. It is fairly effective to outline the events as they happened, and exactly why the system failed in so many ways. Generally the moment the children could regain a sense of agency away from the abusive relativity of the family unit, the system was in place to help them. The key is individual agency on the part of the victim and the victimized. 
  • How would you describe this author’s particular style? Is it accessible to all readers or just some? The author’s style is direct and simple. The definition of each sub-header for each chapter frames the content rather well. The use of poetry between chapters allows for the reader to have some flashes of enjoyable writing. Right before the author details in simplistic ways the horrors of abuse. Accessibility is very high, however the reader must have a strong sense of endurance to read the chapters one after the other.
  • Argument: How is the work’s argument set up? What support does the author give for her/findings? Does the work fulfill its purpose/support its argument?
    The argument is to raise awareness for the issue of child abuse in America. The findings are from her own past, so the support is very strong. The retelling is also subjective to the point of view of the author. So, that subjectivity can erode the authenticity of the experiences. The Appendices offer a lot of research and helpful resources for those in direct contact with similar situations. To that end, it does succeed in providing awareness to the reader.
  • Key Ideas: What is the main idea of the work? What makes it good, different, or ground breaking?
    The main idea of the work is provide an account of child abuse. The direct and unapologetic presentation of difficult subject matter backed by relevant resources for the reader to continue on with makes it very unique and successful.  It is ground breaking because it is not aimed and a successful commercial run via an editorial by a large publishing house. This book is self published, online, as an e-book to the end of raising awareness about the topic.
  • Awards: Won the grand Prize in the 3rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards.
  • Publisher/Price: ELEVEN REGRETS by Mel Anderson ($9.95, Kindle; Kindle Unlimited; $16.95, paperback), Little Bear Publications

Questionnaire guidelines for this review can be found at this website: Purdue OWL

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