TMI – YA Saves

Go to the #YASaves hash tag on Twitter for more and if you can’t handle graphic things stop reading here.

This is probably the most scary thing I have ever done in my lifetime. I am not prone to fear, I never have been. However my blog is my safe haven in a way. People never glean too much information about me other than what I allow them to know. They know I have a dog, two kids, a fantastic husband and a pretty fantastic life. That is my truth now. It wasn’t always the case for me though.

People ask me all the time why I read and love YA. Why I spend my time championing children’s literature. I usually say “I like the low page count and the stories are interesting”, or some other noncommittal dribble. I never say what I should that “I wish so much these books would have been there for me.”

I don’t have a lot of memories from my childhood. A therapist would probably tell me I blocked them out. I remember only the bad stuff and I never think about it. The number one way I have always survived and kept myself mentally stable is to just bury it, bury everything. I do talk about things, but when I want to and when I feel comfortable, but mainly I read through things.

From the time I was five until I was twelve I was sexually abused by my step father. I have never in my life uttered that sentence out loud and probably never will. We lived in a small town, those ones that look beautiful on the outside but are full of rot on the inside. I was in sixth grade when I had a teacher who was extremely nice. I don’t remember anything about her now, just the feeling that she was nice and I will always remember the way she looked at me when I confided in her. She took me to the guidance counselor who made me say it all again. Out loud. Then they called the police.

The police came and made me say it all out loud again. Then they made me write it all down. Then they sent me to my next class. When I got off the school bus that afternoon my aunt was waiting for me at the stop. She said we were going to my grandmother’s house. When I arrived my Mom was in tears, but they weren’t tears for me they were for him. He went home from the police station after telling them I was lying to get attention and shot himself in the head in our bathroom.

I went back to school a few days later where the kids made fun of me. Said mean things and gave me get well soon cards painted with men hanging themselves or shooting themselves with angry colors of red and maroon. The church branded me a liar and asked me to repent. They threw us out of the congregation and the woman who I had known my entire life as my grandmother spit in my face. The police had a confession / suicide letter but wouldn’t release it to me. I still don’t know what he wrote only that he said “Everything Pam said was true.”

We moved. It was too late. I was already too messed up to care what we did or where we went. I was still reading though there just wasn’t anything about that out there. Living in a small town, very small this had never happened to another person.

I started drinking and doing mild drugs. I started hanging out with kids I never would have. I kept my grades up though I don’t know how. When I was fifteen and in 8th grade I lost my virginity. Against my will in the back of a Ford Fiesta with three sophomore boys. Tommy, Jeremy, and Chris. Three extremely handsome athletes that I couldn’t believe asked me, little old me to go riding around with them.

I told my friends. They called me a liar. Rumors of my new slutty behavior were rampant in the halls. I almost killed myself, several times. I kept reading. I read corset rippers about sex. I knew that wasn’t what sex was and I wanted to know what it should be like. If anyone got deflowered and liked it.

I left home and lived in trailers with addicts. I did more drugs, I drank more and I kept odd jobs at burger joints and I kept my library card. I kept reading and I didn’t die.

When I was twenty I met a man and moved in with him. I had no where else to go. We had sex and I got pregnant. He didn’t want a baby and I didn’t want to give it up. I couldn’t wait to have someone to love, someone who I knew for sure would love me too. One night he came home and beat me badly. Usually it had just been a slap to the back of the head or a push to the floor and he always was so sorry. He beat me and choked me with a telephone cord and he put me outside in three feet of snow in my night gown. I didn’t even have shoes. It was five miles walk to the next house so I brushed the porch off and sat there. All night. I got pneumonia and it complicated the pregnancy. The baby came early and he died when he was eight days old. I went back to his house and spent another year watching Jerry Spring, not eating and trying not to kill myself. I read Christian Fiction because I wanted to believe there was a God.

I got up dusted myself off and applied to colleges. I moved away. I met my husband and lived in England and now in California and I never go back there. I never have too. I have two beautiful children, an amazing husband and a life that is so wonderful I never would have believed it could happen to me. The nasty drug addled whore I believed I was.

I wish I had YA books to read then. I would have loved to have known other people had problems and I believe more than anything that YA Saves.

118 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    Pam. I am so sorry.
    Its true, I never thought you would have lived that type of life. All those things *shudder*.
    I am sorry, really, though me saying those words won’t help.

    YA truly saves.

  2. Gravatar

    OMG! girl I wish you were here so I could hug you. You are such a strong person and I am proud to call you my friend. It is amazing the power of the written word and how it can change and ease your life. I also had a difficult time as a teen, no where near as difficult as yours, but I too wish I had something to read that would make the journey easier to bear. Thank goodness that has changed.

    ((hugs))
    Nancy

  3. Gravatar

    Oh, Pam,

    You’re so insanely strong, and honest, and brave. Your story is ugly, but your ending is beautiful.

    Love you!

    Brent

  4. Gravatar

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Gravatar

    You are so brave! Your story is proof to the people who want to sweep reality under the rug and tell us all to go back to the Babysitters club and sweet valley twins books even though, those books- while good- don’t really deal with OUR real lives. Hugs to you for being so brave and for taking a stand. Thank you for sharing your story.

  6. Gravatar

    I had my hand over my mouth the whole time I read this, horrified at what you went through. There is nothing I can possibly say that can change the past, but your bravery and strength in sharing the horror that you lived through is amazing.

    God, how I wish this sort of thing didn’t happen to people, but it does. And keeping it inside, feeling like it’s somehow our fault, that we’re somehow lesser because of it, is poison.

    Your story will give someone else hope in the bleakest, darkest hole. Thank you for opening up the vein so that person will live through it. I know it can’t have been easy, but IT MATTERS.

    YOU MATTER.

    *hug*

  7. Gravatar

    Thank you so much for sharing and opening up. What a courageous thing. I’m glad that reading was there for you when nothing, and no one, else was.

    At least one good thing has come from this WSJ b.s. – the YA community has joined together and given you the strength to share your story.

    Again, thank you for sharing. And I’m so glad that your story has a happier ending.

  8. Gravatar

    YOU ARE SO AMAZING!! I know how hard it must be to share this, but THANK YOU! I want to cry and hug you all at the same time. You’re amazing for not giving up, for sharing this story and for being an inspiration to someone else who’s going through this very same thing. YOU are making a difference in someone else’s life.

  9. Gravatar

    Wow. I don’t even know how to respond to this…words are so frail. I just want you to know that I am glad you shared your story, and I know there are others out there (me included) who have benefited. I hate that one article has so recklessly put a bad light on YA fiction when this, THIS is what YA fiction was meant for. Thank you for being strong, and for sharing.

  10. Gravatar

    You’re amazing. Thanks so much for braving that. Because you’re also absolutely right. These books NEED to be there for kids. To take them away as inappropriate would be criminal (IMO).

  11. Gravatar

    This made me cry. I’m so sorry for what you had to go through–awful things like sexual abuse from a parent should never be allowed to happen, but it does. You are so brave for telling your story. I commend you for rising above it all, even though it was a sliding struggle, but still. You did it. You triumphed. You are your own hero.

  12. Gravatar

    *hugs* This is one of the bravest things I’ve ever read.

  13. Gravatar

    I am truly happy that everything worked out for you in the end. Your courage and strength is amazing.

  14. Gravatar

    You are really brave for sharing this. You are right. YA does save. The horror at the thought of people calling you a liar and making fun of you and spitting on you shocks me. Some people want so much for things to be pristine, that they turn away the people who need them the most. YA novels that address such things are so good because they show people that they don’t have to be alone and that they are in no way less qualifying of love or in any way degraded as human beings just because of what has happened to them. Thank you so much for sharing this. ♥

  15. Gravatar

    I am crying for the younger you, Pam. That’s a heartbreaking story, and I am so glad that you found strength and hope–that’s such a big part of how #YAsaves.

    The logical part of my mind is compiling a book list for her. Have you read the comments from some of the people agreeing to the WSJ article? I can’t believe how naive these people are! And I’m boiling mad that people think that avoiding these painful issues is any way to deal with the harshness of real life, that their children’s lives are so wonderful and perfect and why ruin it by “tainting” their imaginations with rape, violence, and addiction? This is how people end up unable to deal with bad stuff–lack of information and perspective, and that’s what dark and gritty YA addresses. I think a lot of the books mentioned on that post do it really, really well.

    I’m torn between going to look for more #YAsaves and more ridiculous responses on the WSJ website. I just want to go curl up with a dark tome full of sex, murder, and war (er, A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin, in case you are wondering).

    Thanks, Pam. I’m hugging you from the Internet.

  16. Gravatar

    Pam, I am left speechless and heartbroken for you. Some people would have given up on life, but you rose to the occasion. Thank you for sharing that moving, albeit very sad story here. If you can inspire one person to open up about abuse or drugs, then your story was worth its weight in gold. I hope life is as beautiful as you are now and always.

  17. Gravatar

    What can I say. your “story” is really inspiring. Allthough I didn’t have the exact same problems you had growing up, I had my fare share, some of them similar some of them completly different. Books I read now make me realize that what happened all those years ago wasn’t my fault, even those things that happened not so long ago weren’t. That’s while I’ll always be thankfull to those authors who write books telling everyone the facts and the truths, and helping people keep living. If it hadn’t of been for those same books this “Journalist” is critizicing I for one probably wouldn’t be here anymore.

  18. Gravatar

    Thank you so so much for sharing this. You are incredibly strong and brave.
    You are one of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

  19. Gravatar

    You are truly brave and strong. I know me saying sorry for the messed up things that happened in your life won’t be much in the scheme of things, but I am truly sorry that good people like you go through horrible things.
    Thank you for sharing your story, and you deserve the happy ending.
    *hugs*

  20. Gravatar

    You are amazing and strong. This has got to be one of the bravest things I have ever read. You are beautiful.

  21. Gravatar

    Pam,

    As I write this I am in tears. We have similar situations and I am so glad that you shared your story. When I was younger I watched my mom be a victim of domestic violence. I remember her being choked out with a phone cord and when I tried to call for help the man pushed me so hard I got knocked out. My parents split when I was very young and I blamed myself. I was assaulted by an extremely close “friend” when I was a sophomore in high school. I attempted suicide twice and am blessed to still be living. I am so thankful for YA books. It showed me that while I was going through I wasn’t the only one that faced these issues. I am 27 and my boyfriend makes fun of me because when we go to the library or the bookstore I head straight for the YA section. He always asks me why I do that and I told him, its because these stories are about me. These characters tell MY story in a way that I can’t. They allow others no matter their age that it’s ok to feel the way they feel and that they are not alone and help us to get over and deal with our situations. These books allow us to pass on our stories to others that are going through so they can understand that they are not alone and that we have been there. Again thank you so much for sharing your story. I know how hard it was for you to do so.

  22. Gravatar

    Wow, you are so incredibly brave to share this, and to have survived it. Kudos to you. I am so glad that you have moved past this and have found happiness. I wish you nothing but the best. Thank you for sharing.

  23. Gravatar

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am sure that it was not the easiest thing to write, but it just shows that sometimes people need to read things that show them others have been there and made it through. You are an inspiration!

    #YAsaves

  24. Gravatar

    You are brave and beautiful, and I am so, so glad you held on.

  25. Gravatar

    You deserve more than our words. You deserve hugs! Tons of them! It is a very tough thing to come on and even type the words. You have a brilliant life so I wish it to stay like that and if it changes: make it better with each coming day. You deserve the life you have and I’m glad you are strong enough to share your story to not only verify what YA does but to also help those who are going through a lot of stuff as well.

    You’re an amazing woman and I wish you only the greatest of the best!

  26. Gravatar

    You are amazing for sharing something so personal. Being abused in any form is hard to break through. Your husband and your kids are proof that you overcame things that some people will never understand. Thank you for sharing something that must have been extremely hard to say.

  27. Gravatar

    I wish I was as brave as you are but I am not ready to admit anything that has happened to me publicly yet, even if I know that it might help someone else and make them feel how I do now after reading what you wrote. If there is one thing that #YAsaves has shown me it is that I am not alone and I don’t have to feel that way anymore. I am normally someone who my friends and family would call brave, normally someone who would do anything to help another human being but I can’t do that yet. Maybe one day I will be able to, I hope one day I have it in my heart to do what you have done here.

    I just want to say that I look up to you for being able to type this out and tell us and that it means more to me than you might know. Reading what you have written I no longer blame myself for what happened to me, or my location, or any of the other factors because I realize it could happen to anyone in any town or any place. Reading what you wrote, even if just for a little while, I can let go and forgive even if I will never forget. Thank you. Thank you so much.

  28. Gravatar

    Pam you are so brave! Thank you for sharing your life with us. Books were always an escape for me from a dysfunctional family situation. I threw myself into fantasy and science fiction wanting to escape from the world.

    I love YA because I love the lessons the romance and fun.I always understand and relate to the pain in YA it’s there beneath the surface. But it’s the joy of first love college, travel and exploration that draw me in:)

  29. Gravatar

    As I read the WSJ article my body started to feel numb…it scared me that YA fiction was perceived as a dark and dangerous thing that had to be navigated by parents…something unheard of forty years ago. Even typing this right now I’m–shocked? As someone who has book talked a heck of a lot of YA for a heck of a lot of years–I _know_ there are kids out there who experience what is in the “dark” YA, or have friends who are there, or who just want to understand. Your story takes that knowing to an entirely other level…_thank _you_. I will keep on doing what I do. You do the same…you are amazing and it’s time for me to stop talking :)

  30. Gravatar

    Looking back on my adolescent struggles, I wished that someone would have told me that everything would be okay. At the time, the world seemed so bleak and I was my biggest critic. No one knew, but the books – they would have helped me to tell myself it would be okay.

    I’m so glad you found the door to wonderful. Peace is good. ::hugs::

  31. Gravatar

    What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, I can relate on more then one of these topics. I’m still reading. life gets better and YA SAVES =}

  32. Gravatar

    Thank you so much for sharing this.
    Your story, as well as many others that have gone untold, is the reason YA must be written. There are young ones out there living with secrets and pain. YA stories help them see that there is hope, that they are not alone. It gives them the spark to light the fire of courage that they hold inside.
    There will always be those people in the world that live in their glass houses and wear the rose colored glasses. But as authors, writers, bloggers and people who know that the world really does have monsters in it (and they are human!) it is up to us to carry that candle for others. To light their way, to help them if we can.

    I am so happy for where you are now. Never think that you don’t deserve this happiness either! I don’t know you, but through this blog I know you are an amazing person. Thank you for sharing this with us all.

  33. Gravatar

    Oh, Pam~what a brave, beautiful post. I wish I knew you and could hug you right now. I am a social worker and have worked with so many kids who have been sexually abused, and everywhere there are kids, I think, “there is a little girl or boy in this crowd who harbors a terrible secret, even though you can’t tell on the outside.” If only more of us were as brave as you, then they wouldn’t feel so alone. YA books help kids feel that they are not alone, and your post did as well. <3

  34. Gravatar

    This is one of the most awful, horrifying, tear jerking, beautiful stories I have ever heard. You are so strong, to be able to share this with so many people. THIS is why YA saves. YA saved my best friend in the world when her cousin raped her… if YA had been for you what it is today, what it was for her… maybe this story wouldn’t have been so tragic. but at least it ended well for you, and like the YA out there today, your story promises hope. So thank you, for being so, so strong

  35. Gravatar

    I read your story about YA Saves and I really cannot think of anything to say, other than that was truly powerful. I can’t even think of the right words, but I wanted to at least post a comment just to show my support to your story but also to YA in general.

  36. Gravatar

    THANK YOU for your openness and your honestly. What a tribute to YA writers and readers everywhere. I have also been raped and told it was my fault and it wasn’t really rape because he did not beat me. It was a horrific experience that still touches my life. Teens go through so much more than most adults are ever aware of. If they do not know that rape is wrong, that no matter who tells them it’s their fault or it’s no big deal, the guilt they feel will lead to emotional scaring worse than imaginable. Rape is horrific enough without adding to that.

    Again, thank you for being brave enough to post this. I retweeted it and hope many read it and find comfort, strength, and help though it. And I am so glad you have a happy family now, you deserve it!

  37. Gravatar

    This story is beautiful. Thank you for choosing to speak. For every person that didn’t believe you, hurt you, called your names, there’s a person like me, admiring you, commiserating with you, taking courage from you.

  38. Gravatar

    I, too, frequently hear words like, “Really? But you’re so normal!” The fact someone is a fully functioning, compassionate human being doesn’t mean they haven’t struggled. It means they’ve found something, or someone, or a combination thereof, that has helped them understand what beauty the world also has to offer.

    It takes tremendous courage to share such a personal story, in such detail. But it’s powerful and awesome that you’ve done so, because you’re thus making yourself a rung on someone else’s ladder toward hope that someday something better might yet await.

    That is magic. YA saves because its writers share their hearts, and the truths that lie in those hearts help others believe so much may yet be possible.

  39. Gravatar

    Thank you for sharing your story. I too “came out” about being molested on my blog, and it was the scariest thing I’d ever done. My story happened to reach someone when it was needed. I hope yours does too.

  40. Gravatar

    It takes a lot of courage to speak out the way you have, Pam. I know first hand how hard it can be. I am so glad you are in a better and safer place now. Big hugs to you. And thank you for sharing your story.

    Books helped me through my childhood, if only offering me an escape.

  41. Gravatar

    I wish I’d known you when we were both younger. Perhaps we could have supported each other. My bio. father only got to me once. I never told anyone until my husband. My family still doesn’t know. Nor do they have any idea about the three rapes during my teens, my drug use, my abusive exes. You are so much braver than I. I never came forward and made those men face justice. I lived every day wondering if that allowed them to hurt someone else. The guilt was a weight. You are so right. If the YA circulating today had been available in the ’80′s, (when Judy Blume was still shocking in my little hometown), perhaps I would have had the strength to speak up, to get help and to live a better life than I did. Instead I had to be my own therapist. I was 32 before I came to terms with it all, and broke free of the victim mentality. Bless you.

  42. Gravatar

    I’m truly stunned. I hardly have words. I’m crying for that poor, poor little girl. I’m crying for that sweet young teen, the young woman who lost her child. I’m crying w/joy, though & so happy that your life has become such a blessing to you. Thank you for your bravery. There are so many of us out here who haven’t had the strength, yet, to do what you’ve done. I’m sure your post has saved someone. Thank you!

  43. Gravatar

    Thank you for sharing your powerful story. Just like the books you wish had been there for you, maybe someone will read your story and feel like they are not alone.

  44. Gravatar

    Pam, bless you and your family. No one deserves happiness more than you. Thank you so much for sharing your story, I will never forget it. I hope with all my heart that not only does your story help someone who is suffering, but it and YA literature helps educate a generation about how their selfish actions of have the power to destroy lives… I am so glad to hear your happy ending xx

  45. Gravatar

    Wow, Pam. What a brave post. (((((hugs)))))

  46. Gravatar

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I can’t even imagine how much courage it must have taken to say all that, even in text. I’m so glad that your story here has a happy ending!

  47. Gravatar

    I read and write YA, and found this page via @jolantru on Twitter. Knowing how difficult it is to find the words, I want to thank you for articulating all of this. ♥

  48. Gravatar

    Your post in support of YA literature has left me grasping for words. I have also travelled through a time of terrible darkness before finding the brightness on the other side, and I am humbled by your bravery. In my mind if the content of YA literature can still shock, then the realities that inspire it are still too hidden, unacknowledged, and unknown to the general public, and it is the hidden pain that eats away who we are. I too wish that YA literature had been there in my life to help ease the terrible isolation that hidden hurts give rise to, and I thank every writer who has the courage to share their own heart-story.

  49. Gravatar

    Thanks for sharing! That was very brave.

    What I’m most angry about is that people just didn’t believe you and make things worse for you. That’s so sad!

    I think you came out of it pretty good and I hope things will stay like this for a long time to come.

  50. Gravatar

    You are incredibly brave and strong for sharing your past with us like that. I had tears in my eyes.

    Books, YA books, are to important to let ignorant articles have any kind of influence – they show us that we are not alone. Something to hold on to when the people in our lives let us down.

    Thank you for this courageous post.

  51. Gravatar

    You are so amazingly strong. This has really frightened, shocked, and most of all, inspired me. Whenever I think there is nothing I can get through, I’ll remember this. Also, YA does save. It’s saved me countless times, helped me to push through the “Am I the only one this happens to?” questioning thoughts. I really wish now that this would have been there for when you were going through all of this, but I’m glad that you did get through it in the end.

  52. Gravatar

    Just wanted to comment and say that you are so brave. Even putting what happened to you into actual words must be like ripping open scars. I’m full of admiration for you and hope your life continues to be full of beauty and joy. Thanks for standing up for YA fiction.

  53. Gravatar

    You are incredibly brave. Thank you for sharing your story.

  54. Gravatar

    Thank you for being so brave and honest with your story. I didn’t catch all this drama last night, but I woke up this morning to read all the Twitter and Facebook posts. I will make my way to the WSJ article in a bit, but I get the drift. It’s awful that you went through that, but thank goodness you persevered. This is exactly why we need the written word, books, and YA novels in particular. This stuff happens in real life! Maybe your story and other YA novels like it will help other teens in need of hope and encouragement.

    Thanks again for sharing your story. :o)

  55. Gravatar

    I really don’t know what to say except that I’m so sorry. I wish I could hug you. You’re so brave.

    I’m so glad you have an amazing husband and two beautiful children. I think reading really saves people.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  56. Gravatar

    Pam, this is incredibly powerful and I’m really glad that you shared. I think that, in so many ways, this is why YA is so important to teens, young adults and to older adults. Not that it would or will save every situation but it might provide some comfort or something at least. Thank you again and I’d hug you if I could.

  57. Gravatar

    [...] Bookalicious Pam, TMI – YA Saves. “People ask me all the time why I read and love YA. Why I spend my time championing children’s literature. I usually say “I like the low page count and the stories are interesting”, or some other noncommittal dribble. I never say what I should that “I wish so much these books would have been there for me.” Share and Enjoy: [...]

  58. Gravatar

    Pam, I think you are very brave to share such a difficult part of your past, but I also am very sure that you have helped at least one person by doing so.

    YA literature is so important, both for teens and adults, because it’s a genre that dares being real. And sometimes, when we don’t want or need real, we get to read fantasy, vampires or other things as well.

    I have never read your blog before, but I am glad I did today! Sending you hugs from far away.

  59. Gravatar

    Oh, darling. *hugs*

  60. Gravatar

    It takes strength to confront the past, and even more to do so publicly. You are a strong woman, and you deserve all of the happiness you have now.

  61. Gravatar

    I am in tears… Not out of pity, but out of admiration and emotion, awe at the strength you so clearly possess, and the courage you’ve shown in sharing your story.

    Thank you.

    KH

  62. Gravatar

    Thank you. This was a powerful post and one that needs to be heard and read, especially by @wsj I agree with the above, YA books reflect reality and teenagers recognize that. This haunting post proves that YA needs to be written and accessible for kids. Thank you, again. I can’t imagine the strength this took to post.

  63. Gravatar

    I am trying so hard to hold back tears. I am utterly speechless, and amazed. Amazed by your strength and courage. Thank you so much for sharing.

  64. Gravatar

    I love you, Pam. You are strong, wonderful and I am so so sorry for what you’ve been through. Thank you for sharing. <3

  65. Gravatar

    You’re one brave woman. I applaud you for finding the strength to be you and be able to move on and become the wonderful woman you are today.

  66. Gravatar

    Thank you for sharing your story Pam. Sharing experiences like this are so important, because it helps others know they aren’t alone.

    I saw on Twitter that you’re going to ALA this month. I’m going as well, and I really hope I get to meet you! Your blog is a rare thing. It’s both entertaining and inspirational. It’s hard to be both.

  67. Gravatar

    Thank you for sharing your story! I’m sure like others who have read this, I’m crying!

  68. Gravatar

    One of the bravest posts I’ve ever read. Thank you for telling us your story. I am torn between tears and wanting to find you and hug you.

  69. Gravatar

    Pam,

    You are beautiful and amazing.

    You have risen above the awful circumstances.

  70. Gravatar

    Pam, I really am speechless. All I have to say is that you’re an amazing person, you’ve done so much and inspired so many people with this post, and I’m sure someone will be beyond helped by it. I’m glad, as I’m sure everyone in this post is, that you’re still around today and that you found a reason to hold on.

  71. Gravatar

    Thank you for sharing your harrowing story with the YA world. It brought me to tears, both of sadness and rage but also uplift and hope. May your the love and success you have in your life now continue to multiply.

    Angela

  72. Gravatar

    Thank you so much for being so brave Pam. You are amazing to me and can’t really express it in words. Although I haven’t experienced any of the abuse and hardships you mentioned, reading has given me a window into the lives of others and made me more sympathetic. There is so much that reading and YA Literature can do to help give teens a voice, when they don’t have the verbal skills or problem solving abilities to do it on their own. I wish people would understand more clearly, as you do, that reading choice is about providing learning, validation, and hope to a wide variety of readers, when they’re ready or need it.

    Thanks for fighting for other teens who need some hope and direction as you could have used. (((hugs)))

  73. Gravatar

    Wow, you maybe the bravest person I know! Bravo to you miss Pam…!
    Sending {{{{hugs}}}}

  74. Gravatar

    I haven’t read the YA article in question, but I wanted to say I read this, and I’m happy you found your happily-ever-after.

  75. Gravatar

    You are a wonderful, beautiful person!! You are so brave and courageous. If this doesn’t prove that YA saves then i don’t know what does. Stay strong, stay amazing. Your children and husband probably couldnt ask for a better mom or wife =)

  76. Gravatar

    Thank you for sharing your story, Pam. I know it must’ve been hard. I’m glad you found your happiness eventually and I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that. <3

  77. Gravatar

    Oh, Pam. This breaks my heart wide open, I know I told you that on Twitter, but truly it does.
    Abuse is something NO ONE deserves. And it is never, ever the survivors fault. It absolutely breaks my heart that people would dare to blame you for something outside of your control.
    Even if you never said no, if you never fought back, the lack of consent is absolutely rape and absolutely not your fault.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I like that it has a beautiful ending and I hope that your story will give others the strength to share their story, or to seek help. I hope your story shows others that there is hope, that there can be light after the darkness.
    I am so proud of what you have become. I am proud to call you a friend. Thank you so so much for being brave and sharing this.

  78. Gravatar

    Pam, I’m so sorry to hear that the first part of your life was so hard on you. Sharing this must have been incredibly hard on you and I say thank you for telling us. You are such an amazing, strong and lovely person and I’m so glad that you now have a great husband and two wonderful kids.

    Thank you for not giving up on your life. And for not giving up on books, while you had every reason to. Thank you for being such an amazing woman. Thank you for being an inspiration for every woman out there.

    *sends hugs*

  79. Gravatar

    I sat here staring at the comment box for a few minutes, wondering what I should say. I know it’s not that original, but all I could come up with was to tell you how brave you are to share your story & how you overcame the horrible events from your past.

  80. Gravatar

    Pam, you are beautiful and strong, and I feel so honored to know you and call you a friend. I am really happy that you held on and stayed strong and have a beautiful life and family for yourself.

  81. Gravatar

    Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your story. I can’t image the courage it took. It brought tears to my eyes because I have a 13 year old niece with a similar story. She’s having a rough time and acting out sexually and through cutting and threatening/ trying to kill herself. They’ve had her spend some time in a mental health facility and even sent her to a special mental health hospital but she got kicked out because her mom is too lazy to take her to the school.

    She lived with me for 6 months and admitted that she’s only ever read 1 book all the way through. I tried desperately to get her to read a few books but nothing really caught her attention. I read some YA but I haven’t really read much of the darker stuff. If you (or anyone) has a few suggestions for her, I’d love to hear them. I’m not ready to give up on the kid like so much of her family has and I think it would really help her to read about kids with similar issues.

  82. Gravatar

    I’m so happy that you were able to find happiness and love, you deserved it. Thank you so much for sharing your story, it is heartbreaking. Lots of love to you Pam.

  83. Gravatar

    Thank you for sharing this deeply personal and painful story. Your strength made this a story of survival in the face of tragedy. I wish your younger self had those books, too.

  84. Gravatar

    Thank you for crossing that imaginary but really important line and speaking out for people of all ages. Some people will say that what you went though is unspeakable, but that’s what people who commit such awful crimes hope for. It’s why it’s so important for people like you to speak about it when you are able to, and for books and movies and tv, to show people that it doesn’t have to be that way. #yasaves by showing kids and adults that they aren’t alone, and that they can survive and flourish.

  85. Gravatar

    Thank you so much Pam. I’m not sure I could ever have the courage to speak out about the things that have happened to me the way that you have, but I know your life will inspire many. So thank you so much for that.

    Yes, we absolutely need YA. We also need this community. I don’t care what anyone says about social media and blogs. To me it’s one of the best things since YA books became more readily available to teens. Because there are not only adults reading our blogs, but numerous teens who not only read but blog themselves. This is so powerful and can/will truly change so many lives. Without it I may have never been able to make it through some of the most difficult times in my life.

    So thank you again for sharing this. {{hugs}}

  86. Gravatar

    I saw #YAsaves on twitter and wondered what it was all about. This was amazing to read and YA does save. Harry Potter saved me at 13. I got l got lost in another world when mine was bad, I met other fans that were good people, good influences. Thank you for your story.

  87. Gravatar

    I wish I could say something besides what has already been said. Thank you for giving us an example of why YA is important. I think a lot of people that support the ideas the WSJ article is spouting would argue that books like Hunger and Rage or Speak are “triggering” (which we heard a lot during the BITCH feminist book list debacle a while ago). I guess my thought is that if someone is triggered, they probably already have some kind of issue, which is why they are responding in that way. If that is the case, then shouldn’t we want to not cancel out the good YA does for people like you and everyone else who has responded just for the sake of people who may need help, but are “triggered” because they don’t know how to ask for it?

  88. Gravatar

    Thank you for your courage and honesty. This is exactly what YA fiction is all about! It gives us strength, hope, and a sense of self-worth. It helps those who bother to read it learn to understand and accept others for who they are and to judge people on their actions, not their “I am.”

    Thank you so much for posting your response to that ridiculous WSJ post.

    It wasn’t just a bad argument (unsound, to be more accurate) – but one of the most obviously one-sided “articles” I’ve ever read on the subject.

    I had to respond with my take on the issue as well. I’m more of a literature/classics reader, but I did become a strong supporter for YA and its benefits – “Darkness and Light in Young Adult Books” has my thoughts about the whole thing. :)

  89. Gravatar

    Thank you for doing this. I couldn’t tell mine in much detail. It is simply too hard.

    The more I think about it the more I’m disgusted with women who have children and love men more than they do their own children. I thought this was the way of the world until I got married last year. But yeah I’m disgusted.

    I’m glad you could read to escape, but I wish there were people there for you as well.

  90. Gravatar

    Every time you speak, you take back some of your power. Good for you for telling. I’m so sorry you had to go through all of this to get to where you are now. It’s not fair and it’s ugly, but you are amazing. Thank you for laying your soul bare to the world to show how important YA is.

  91. Gravatar

    Pam, I cried as I read this. All I could picture was the little girl and young woman who went through so much. I am so glad that you were able to overcome what happened to you. I wish you would have had YA books back then too. Let’s hope that today’s YA books ARE helping young people who are going through what you went through. I, for one, believe that they are.

  92. Gravatar

    You are such a strong and amazing woman. I know we only sort of know each other through cyberspace, but I’m proud to know you. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story.

  93. Gravatar

    Thank you for sharing your important story. :)

  94. Gravatar

    Thank you for writing this brave piece.

  95. Gravatar

    [...] article on young adult literature that was published this weekend. Plenty of people have done an amazing job of writing about it, including YA authors and book bloggers who are far more knowledgeable [...]

  96. Gravatar

    Pam,
    I do not know you. I may never know you. But I know that you are beautiful, strong, and an inspiration. And I love you and the little wounded girl you have bravely allowed us all to meet. I wish I could take her in my arms (the way no one ever held me or my damaged childself) and take that pain away. It should never have touched someone so young and full of life.

    Thank you. For sharing. For growing. For living.

    Gigi

  97. Gravatar

    Wow. Your story is the kind YA authors are trying to shed more light on in the first place. Thank you for sharing it. Your bravery reminds me why art and literature exist in the first place.

  98. Gravatar

    [...] community in Fort Bragg, the small town where I live and work. A small town where, we are assured, nothing bad ever happens, and thus things like persistent child molestation spanning multiple generations cannot be [...]

  99. Gravatar

    I can’t even imagine what you had to go through to write that post. It takes tremendous courage to say this, especially after everything that happened when you first spoke up. You are truly a beautiful, brave, and powerful woman. Thank you, and please know that you are not alone!

  100. Gravatar

    You are so brave for writing what you did. Reading it made me brave enough to post, too. So, thank you.

  101. Gravatar

    Wow, I’m floored by your amazingly honest and openhearted post. Thank you for telling your story, and I know you’ve helped at least one person who will come across it.

    When I wrote my novel, even though it is fiction, I tried to be as true as I knew how to the torn-down lives my inner-city Philly students had to endure. Here’s hoping my creation can help in its own way. YA can definitely be a lifeline for drowning teens and often adults.

  102. Gravatar

    You are very brave and strong. I am so glad you are in a good place now.

  103. Gravatar

    [...] responses from well-read adults and teens on the value within so much of YA literature and its downright lifesaving effects.  As teen blogger Emma eloquently explains, “Good literature rips open all the private parts [...]

  104. Gravatar

    This made me cry. You are so brave an strong to have gone through all of it and made it. You are incredible. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  105. Gravatar

    Oh, Pam, I am so sorry you’ve had to go through all this. But I truly admire you for your courage in telling your story. Reading truly is a way to keep people sane, and I am glad that there are books out there to help kids get through the tough times. I know that my words are inadequate, but I just wanted you to know how brave I think you are.

  106. Gravatar

    Pam you are courageous and give others hope. I love that reading helped you cope and gave you the courage and the escape to go on! What an inspiring story. I wouldn’t trade what you’ve found with your husband and kids for anything…you deserve it…remember that!

  107. Gravatar

    You are so brave to share your story. You must be an incredibly strong woman to survive so much heartache. I’m so incredibly glad that you have a life filled with people you love now.

  108. Gravatar

    What everyone else said. Brave/amazing/etc. You are the epitome of the term “survivor.” Your husband and kids must be very, very proud of you.

  109. Gravatar

    [...] responses from well-read adults and teens on the value within so much of YA literature and its downright lifesaving effects. As teen blogger Emma eloquently explains, “Good literature rips open all the private parts of [...]

  110. Gravatar

    I am extremely late in responding to this article, but it does not make it any less powerful to me having the distance from the time I read the original WSJ article. Thank you for speaking out with your story and showing just how important YA and ALL literature truly is! It can save and it can empower! You are proof of that!

  111. Gravatar

    [...] entering the fracas, mostly because I feel my opinion is unnecessary (because I’ve read some other excellent responses) and because I don’t feel terribly well-qualified to have an Important [...]

  112. Gravatar

    Pam you are courageous and give others hope. I love that reading helped you cope and gave you the courage and the escape to go on! What an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing the informative post.

  113. Gravatar

    [...] Pam at Bookalicio.us shares with us her incredibly personal story and how she wishes she had YA to turn to: ‘I wish I had YA books to read then. I would have loved to have known other people had problems and I believe more than anything that YA Saves.’ [...]

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