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Submitted Literature

Ghosts of me

By Victoria Grace Reynolds

Review

Oh my goodness, what a book! It struck hard at my heart and wrapped me in its magic. Take the warning at the beginning of this book very seriously: “I need you to understand, so pay attention to everything but be careful not to lose yourself”. It is very easy to lose yourself in the beautiful prose and poetry that follows.

Loss of talent is always sad, and Vicky’s was surely a considerable writing talent.  She speaks to us through her journal entries and leads us on a journey from which she never recovered. It is a journey parts of which I know only too well, having passed some way along the same road, and it is described in excruciating emotional detail. I so agree with her example of “how I’ve always described self-harm: like a cup of tea.  An appropriate response to any situation” that her warnings at the start of the book flood back to me and I take heed and protect myself.

 

Anger is evident and boils up through the text, and yet Vicky writes that “Anger terrifies me, both in myself and others”. This way of being is built into the very heart of the book and Vicky recognises it and fears that it will seem that she is being wilfully untruthful when quite the opposite is evident, and later, when we learn that she is reacting to someone else’s anger, that she is protecting herself from it.

 

The book writhes and dances with love and lust for life and yet is so sad that all I wanted to do was to hold Vicky and tell her that she is loved. That chance will never come and the world is lessened for it.

 

I heartily recommend this book to anyone who would like to step some way in the shoes of another and in so doing understand a little of what it means to be so very lost and alone.

Key Themes:

  • Self-Injury

Significant Quotes / Pages

Come with me, look, I’ll show the way.  Here’s the gate, this is my world.  I won’t come with you, I want you to look around you, not look at me, not talk to me because you will miss so much but I will wait here for you I will wait, wrapping the twilight around me, hiding, while you stand in the blinding, white winter sunlight, unable to hide what you have learnt.  Terrifying but I need you to understand, so pay attention to everything but be careful not to lose yourself.  I think you will be safe as long as you don’t try to change anything.  I will not be there, I will be waiting at the gate but you will see ghosts of me being hurt, hunted, haunted, you will feel it but you mustn’t interfere, remember you are only there to experience, interference will trap you in my world and you will be hunted too.  Don’t be a hero, soldier, priest, doctor or friend, just experience as a human.  Don’t take anything for granted, be wary, it’s not a safe place even for you. (p.9)

Reference: Victoria Grace, Reynolds. 2013. Ghosts of me. Chipmunka, 2013

Reviewer

Dr Richard Leopold Peacocke BSc Hons MSc
Date Review Submitted: Tuesday 27th May 2014