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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
It’s often been said that “everybody’s got a story”, but as too many memoir writers know, not everyone is interested in their story - with one exception. Those who dare to share details of abuse, be it mental, physical, sexual or a combination of all three, will invariably find a receptive readership. That is one of life’s painful realities and for that reason, I applaud Christina Somera, author of Rooted HEIR (the title is an acronym for Heal, Empower, Inspire, Redefine). She has risen to the challenge of telling her difficult story. Somera’s memoir begins when she was just six years old and suffered horrific beatings by her easily enraged stepfather. When her mother never intervened, the young Christina could only conclude she was unloved. Despite being an obedient child and a good student, she found herself continually apologizing for the abuse inflicted on her by those she trusted. Like so many abuse victims, who feel shame and wear the blame while being forced to stay silent, she was desperate for someone to love her. Her search for that special someone led her into a series of unsatisfying and heartbreaking relationships, the last of which, though it was marred by continuing struggles, resulted in four cherished children.
Through decades of trauma and self-criticism, Somera had to accept the reality that the abusers themselves most likely had traumatic pasts. Christina persevered, determined to find love until she finally realized that, as Whitney Houston once reminded us, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. Again, typical of abuse victims, Christina Somera had to learn to forgive and love herself to be loved back. In Rooted HEIR, through her raw narration, her poignant, lyrical poetry, and a final, short chapter titled “HEIR”, Somera gives other abuse victims not just hope of recovery, but a four-part realistic formula for doing so. Perhaps you, like Christina Somera, are ready to answer the question she had avoided for decades: “Why are you so afraid of who I created you to be?” If so, read this memoir.