Saturday 13 January 2018

Unbroken by Madeleine Black @madblack65 #BlogTour #MyLifeInBooks

For many years after that night, my memories of what happened after he held the blade to my throat and threatened my life were fragmented... difficult to piece together. It was too extreme, too violent for me to understand.
Violently gang-raped when she was thirteen years old, and raped three more times before the age of eighteen, Madeleine has experienced more trauma in her life than most ever will.
Living in a state of shock and self-loathing, it took her years of struggle to confront the buried memories of that first attack and begin to undo the damage it wrought, as men continued to take advantage of her fragility in the worst possible way.
Yet, after growing up with a burden no teenager should ever have to shoulder, she found the heart to carry out the best revenge plan of all: leading a fulfilling and happy life. But the road to piecing her life back together was long and painful. For Madeleine, forgiveness was the key. True forgiveness takes genuine effort. It takes a real desire to understand those who have done us so much harm. It is the ultimate act of courage.
In Unbroken, Madeleine tells her deeply moving and empowering story, as she discovers that life is about how a person chooses to recover from adversity. We are not defined by what knocks us down - we are defined by how we get back up.

Unbroken by Madeleine Black was published by John Blake Publishing on April 4 2017 in paperback.

As part of the Blog Tour for Unbroken, I am delighted to welcome the author, Madeleine Black to Random Things today. She's talking about the books that are important to her, in My Life In Books

My Life in Books - Madeleine Black

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett  
I can remember reading this whilst still at primary school and is one of the first books that I disappeared into and was totally transfixed by the story. I loved how the relationship between Mary and Colin grew by her telling him stories to take his mind of his illness and how he was once neglected but then thrived under her care and attention.

Anne Frank’s Diary 
This was the first autobiography I ever read and as my father was a holocaust survivor I found it very powerful. I was amazed what people can go through in order to survive but even more amazing was Anne’s attitude to still see the goodness in life. I have worked as a guide when the Anne Frank’s exhibition came to Glasgow and I think it’s easier for people to connect with one person’s story out of the six million that died.

To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee 
I studied this at school and it has stayed with me ever since. It is essentially about ingrained racial prejudice, loss of innocence and judgement. “You never know someone,” Atticus tells Scout “until you step inside their skin and walk around a little”. There is so much truth in that, people are too quick to judge with no understanding

Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl 
This is another book that has had a lasting effect on me and think it should be read by everyone. The description of life in a concentration camp is tough but his observations of humanity are powerful. He shows us that it is our attitude in life that is important and there is always hope.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
I didn’t know that people could speak or write about child rape before I read this book. She showed me that it was possible to go on after experiencing trauma and live a rich existence, planting a seed of hope for me. I would have loved to have met Maya Angelou and I use one of her quotes to start my book “I may be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it”

The Courage To Heal by Laura Bass & Ellen Davies
I found this book before I found my voice and it made me feel like I wasn’t alone with everything that I was feeling internally, so much resonated with me. All the effects of my trauma were explained and it started to make sense to me why I felt how I felt. Another beacon of hope

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
I just find that her words speak to me in a place deep inside; they are both beautiful and moving

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle 
After reading this book I realised that everything in life is where we put our attention and I was spending too long in my past and imagining my future which kept me from being truly present. It’s not been easy but I try to keep myself in the present moment, for after all that’s all there ever really is. It’s a book I give to a lot of my psychotherapy clients.

If You Sit Very Still by Marian Partington
I was so moved after hearing Marian speak and then reading her book that she greatly influenced me to share my story too. Her book is about the disappearance and murder of her sister Lucy, by Rose and Fred West. It is about her refusal to be a victim, compassion and humanity.

Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin 
I love memoirs and found this one so moving. The changes he makes in his life are so contrasting, from living in extreme poverty in China living under a dictatorship to one of a world-class ballet dancer. It was a window into a world I knew nothing about and found it fascinating, courageous and inspiring

When You’re Falling, Dive by Mark Matousek
This is a collection of stories from different people who have all experienced trauma and disaster and how they use it to awake and transform their lives. It showed me that life is best lived

The Forgiveness Project, Stories For a Vengeful Age by Marina Cantacuzino
Just a few months after I shared my own story on the Forgiveness Project’s website I was asked if it could be included as one amongst forty in this book. These stories are all very different and are from both victim’s like myself and perpetrators too who have all transformed their lives around through the power of forgiveness.

Looking at my list I can see I'm very attracted to true stories of courage, growth and strength where people transform their lives and I really believe in the power of sharing our stories. They strengthen my own belief that it’s not what happens to us that is important, but what we do with it. It’s about our attitude and mind-set that we bring to a situation and if we really chose to we can get past anything in life.
Madeleine Black - January 2018

The sharing of her story on The Forgiveness Project's website in September 2014, opened many doors for Madeleine in ways she never imagined and the invitations started to pour in. 

She has taken part in both TV and radio interviews and has been invited to share her story at conferences, events and schools.

She recognises that she was a victim of a crime that left her silent for many years, but has now found her voice and intends to use it. Not just for her, but for so many who can’t find theirs yet. 

She is married and lives in Glasgow with her husband, three daughters, her cat, Suki, and dog, Alfie.
For more info please see her website or follow her on Twitter @madblack65

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