By Viga Boland
How does a woman maintain her sanity and self-esteem and survive years of unspeakable mental, physical and sexual abuse by the very person who is supposed to care for her and guide her development into a healthy adult? Where does she find the inner strength to face her painful past, and to start an online support group for other survivors of incest? What leads this same powerhouse of a woman to write her first book, describing the abuse in graphic and heartbreaking detail?
In the case of Hamilton based author and poet Viga Boland, the extraordinary author of No Tears for my Father, the push to release her story has come from her supportive family – husband John, and daughters Kimberley and Victoria. One of the compelling reasons that she chose to tell her story in her 60s is the knowledge that there are many, many other survivors of incest and child sexual abuse who need confirmation that they are not alone, or in any way responsible for causing the sexual acts that an adult inflicted on them.
Becoming immersed in Viga’s story is effortless as it’s presented as a well laid out autobiography, divided into sections such as “childhood”, “adolescence”, “adulthood” and “aftermath”. We learn about her lonely childhood in Australia as the only child of two Polish survivors of WWII, and her family’s move to Canada, where her father’s sexual abuse starts when Viga is 11 years old. Readers are drawn skillfully into Viga’s world, which is dominated by her angry, controlling father, and rejoice with her when she finally gains her freedom from the man with the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality.
Written in an easy to read and engaging style which belies the stark content of the subject matter, Viga draws the reader into the abusive world that she endured at the hands of a sadistic father, and a mother who was emotionally unavailable, and powerless to help her own daughter. It takes impressive writing skills to present a difficult topic in an engaging manner, without descending into a pedantic “victim” story, and Viga easily accomplishes this task, breaking down the barriers between herself and her readers.
Make no mistake, reading this book is not an easy task as it will take you on an emotional ride that will leave most readers in tears. It is hard not to feel a deep sadness and despair in the knowledge that what Viga lived through, other children are still experiencing daily all over the world. Yet in spite of this reality No Tears isn’t a depressing read because throughout Viga’s sparkling sense of humour and love of life lights up the darkness of her story. She went through hell but she survived, thrived and “got the last laugh” as her father was unable to crush her spirit and her will to live, love and to help others.
In the spirit of helping others Viga has added a section near the end of her book that includes a supportive letter to her readers, her original poetry (which provides beauty and hope in the face of a harsh and hurtful reality), and facts about the sexual abuse of children in Canada.
I encourage everyone to read this outstanding book and to meet Viga in person.
This is easily accomplished as the author has a number of book signings coming up:
• September 14, from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm at Chapters in Ancaster
• September 21, Coles, University Plaza in Dundas
• September 26, Indigo Books/Records Store Burlington Power Center, 1250 Brant St. Burlington, 12 – 4 pm
Viga, the dynamo, will be making an appearance on September 13/13 on CHCH on Morning Live, joining Bob Cowan to discuss her book.
Visit the links below for more Viga related resources:
For more information visit Viga’s website: http://www.vigaboland.com
If you’d like to purchase her book online: http://www.notearsformyfather.com
Visit Viga’s Goodreads’ Author page to read reviews (and to add your own): http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18273968-no-tears-for-my-father
“Coming Out from Under Incest Blog”: http://vigaland.blogspot.com
Viga’s Author’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/vigaboland