I AM: Kicking Down the Walls of Silence About Sexual and Mental Abuse by Brenda Hammon is a powerful memoir about, you guessed it, sexual and mental abuse. The I in I AM is strong. This memoir would not have been anywhere as powerful if told from another point of view. The authority, the passion, and the conviction just wouldn't come through as clearly. The truth of her words just would not have been as compelling. Sometimes we forget the power of I. Brenda Hammon reminds us that these two little words can be one of the most powerful statements in the English language. I have read several books about sexual and emotional abuse. They can be depressing. They can also be a testament to the strength of the human spirit. I AM is clearly a statement that you can’t keep a strong person down. Though what she endured was truly depressing, Brenda Hammon refused to let it determine who she is. She is so much more.
The writing in I AM: Kicking Down the Walls of Silence About Sexual and Mental Abuse is clear and concise. It is personal as only a first person point of view can be. Brenda Hammon flips back and forth in time showing us two Brenda's. Kind of like showing a simultaneous before and after picture. It is a good technique and she uses it to fully show her journey and herself. I AM is rich in detail and full of characters from everyday life. These are people like people that we all have in our lives. The good, the bad, and the indifferent. I AM is a powerful story. It is an important story. For some, it will be the most important book they ever read. Ray Simmons for Readers’ Favorite
Brenda Hammon’s memoir, I AM: Kicking Down the Walls of Silence About Sexual and Mental Abuse, is a fascinating story of a woman’s journey from the obscurity of repeated physical and sexual abuse to the light of freedom, a story that powerfully conveys the message that anyone has the right to reclaim their life and pursue a dream.
All her life, Brenda had been abused in horrible ways, and the experience had made her develop a very poor sense of self; she lost a lot of her self-dignity. She’d carried the pain in her heart until the moment she gave birth to her twins. At that very moment, a new form of life took hold of her. She writes: “With calm clarity, I made a decision. For the first time in my life, I had something to live for. I hadn’t gone through all of the crap in my life just to bring in two babies and exit stage left. No. I was not going to die today.” Continuing on, she says, “For me to protect them, though, I had to stay alive.”
This is a memoir about finding meaning, an indisputable fact that our happiness depends on how much we consciously decide to love. I AM: Kicking Down the Walls of Silence About Sexual and Mental Abuse is written in very wonderful, clear and accessible prose. The author shows a lot of courage in telling her story, and she shares lessons that will undoubtedly edify millions of readers. Brenda Hammon reflects on a lot of themes, all connected to life, childhood and abuse, negative programming, and the joy of motherhood and love.
A very powerful memoir.
Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite
I AM: Kicking Down the Walls of Silence About Sexual and Mental Abuse by Brenda Hammon is a heartbreaking story, a memoir that showcases the pain silently felt by millions of people who have experienced abuse and the excruciating pain of being treated as a thing or used. Brenda opens the door of her heart and shares her struggle with abuse — physical and psychological sexual abuse — and her journey towards healing and strength. One could never know how it feels to be repeatedly abused as a young girl and the effects such abuse can have on one’s life, but reading this book will open the eyes of many people to the reality of moral suffering that many women experience. But will she allow herself to be abused all the time? Read this book and find out how one woman can decide to change her stars and rewrite her destiny by making serious choices.
Brenda Hammon writes with confidence and it is interesting to see the courage and honesty reflected in her writing. Although this is a memoir, it reads with the beauty of a well-written fiction. The opening is great, recounting her labor around Christmas Eve when preparing to give birth to twins. Apart from the beauty of the writing, readers will enjoy the transforming power of giving birth; the strength and miracle of womanhood. After giving birth, the self-doubting, wounded, and pessimistic Brenda discovers meaning. She finds reason to fight, to live, to create life. I AM: Kicking Down the Walls of Silence About Sexual and Mental Abuse is one woman’s powerful testament to her value, a journey of triumph and of hope, and it is every bit as entertaining as it is educative.
A great story. I wish many people out there should read this story.
Ruffina Oserio for Readers’ Favorite
No one can hurt you unless you give them the power to hurt you. This seems to be the core message of I AM: Kicking Down the Walls of Silence about Sexual and Mental Abuse by Brenda Hammon. The book is a memoir that is written with a clear and compelling voice, a story of one woman’s growth through multiple abuses. Brenda’s childhood hasn’t been easy and she’d known all forms of abuses. Such experiences took a huge toll on her life and she suffered psychologically. But when she gives birth to twins, it dawns on her that her life has changed; she knows she has something to live for; it’s a call to restart and to create the life she’d always wanted. She refuses to be determined by her past. It’s a story of redemption, a tale of hope that we can choose what our lives should look like.
I AM: Kicking Down the Walls of Silence about Sexual and Mental Abuse will help many readers understand that in spite of their hurts, in spite of what has happened to them, in spite of what others think about them and how they treat them, they have the power to rise up and take control of their lives, that their dignity comes from the choices they make, those choices that allow them to embrace life and to give life generously. Brenda Hammon articulates brilliantly on a variety of themes, including sexual abuse, the traumas of childhood, self-identity, and womanhood. She tells her story with clarity and unwonted honesty, and many readers will undoubtedly find themselves in the story. Her journey towards healing and success will inspire a million lives.
Thank you for writing this. Christian Sia for Readers’ Favorite
Brenda Hammon, author of I AM: Kicking Down the Walls of Silence About Sexual and Mental Abuse, is not the first woman to write about childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a family member. But she deserves congratulations on doing what so many victims fear doing, i.e. as her sub-title suggests: Kicking Down the Walls of Silence About Sexual and Mental Abuse. Given the dreadful statistics on child sexual abuse in general, we truly cannot have too many such books. So, I AM is another welcome entry into this book genre. As many memoirists do, Brenda has chosen to use a narrative style to tell her sad but ultimately inspiring story. This does make I AM slower reading and it has a ton of detail about horse breeding and other parts of Brenda's life that may not be of huge interest to all who want to read about incest.
But Brenda does something to break up that steady narrative that helps the story move along: between the major chapters detailing the events of her adult life, she inserts 1-2 page chapters, written in italicized print, which take readers back into her past, from her days as a sweet, but lonely and often ignored 5-year-old, on into her teenage years. Thus, bit by bit, the details of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her cousin and a friend emerge. Interestingly enough, by writing this way, the earlier ugly part of her life seems to take second place to the ugliness and abuse she faces as an adult at the hands of her sex-obsessed, possessive, rather mentally unbalanced husband. It is actually this part of her life that is the more frightening of the two parts. But then, if the earlier part hadn't happened, she might never have made the mistake of marrying this monster in the first place.
I AM is about very dysfunctional families. Only Brenda's dad seems to care about her, both as a child and later. But as most victims of childhood abuse do, Brenda keeps everything that happened to her a secret. She is too afraid to tell, and by bottling it all up, is ever hesitant to take decisive action. But somewhere inside her is the belief that she is better than she has been told and, bit by bit, she sets out to prove that to herself and others. And prove herself she does. Readers will be impressed by who Brenda Hammon has become today: she is an author, a speaker, an award-winning equestrian, as well as a successful businesswoman. As her husband, Bud, writes at the end of the book, "Life isn't about finding yourself; it's about creating yourself." Brenda Hammon has certainly done that! Viga Boland for Readers’ Favorite