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Posts tagged ‘suicide’

The Bishop’s Man

The Bishop's Man by Linden MacIntyre.

Image via Chapter and Verse: A Showcase for Canadian Talent.

Title: The Bishop’s Man

Author: Linden MacIntyre

Year of Publication: 2009

Genre Keywords: CanLit, Catholicism, Nova Scotia, pedophile priests, priesthood, scandal, sexual abuse, suicide, trauma.

Summary: Father Duncan MacAskill has spent his priesthood as “the Bishop’s man”, the priest who swoops into a parish in the wake of sex-abuse allegations, removes the offending clergyman, and attempts to set the community right in whatever way will best preserve the holy image of Mother Church. Now he’s been placed in a different role for a change: returning to his hometown on the Nova Scotia coast to be a parish priest. It’s a somewhat quieter life, in which he has a chance to reflect on some of the demons in his past: the time when he witnessed a priest’s abuse of another young man, for instance, or his experience of love and death in South America. But when he becomes close to the family of a friend from his youth, he begins to confront the consequences of his life’s work: did a priest he once moved to a nearby parish assault his friend’s troubled teenage son?

Who’ll Love It: Fans of a vivid setting, realistic action, and a delicately-woven tapestry of past and present will find this story delightful. Be warned, though: if you have trouble following stories told out of sequence, or tales in which key information is fed obliquely (and sometimes ambiguously) to the reader, you might have a hard time making sense of this subtle tale. I’m sure there are new bits and pieces I could pick up on reading the book a second time; it seems like the sort of work that would reward that. So even if you don’t have all the details straight by the last page, it’s a worthwhile journey just for the vivid portrait of life in coastal Nova Scotia. Having read the book, I felt like I had been there – and of course it doesn’t hurt that Father MacAskill spends some time in Ontario, visiting some local landmarks I see on a regular basis.

Authors Abounding: Linden MacIntyre is a frequent guest host on CBC Radio One’s The Current. It’s available for download, but I usually listen to it on the radio; CBC can tell you which frequency you’ll need to hear it on weekday mornings at 8:30 (EST).

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A Kidnapped Mind

A Kidnapped Mind: A Mother's Heartbreaking Story of Parental Alienation Syndrome

Image via the Canadian Children's Rights Council

Title: A Kidnapped Mind: A Mother’s Heartbreaking Story of Parental Alienation Syndrome

Author: Pamela Richardson

Year of Publication: 2006

Genre Keywords: abnormal psychology, child psychology, co-parenting, corruption, courtroom drama, divorce, memoir, parental alienation syndrome, parenting, psychology, suicide.

Summary: When Pamela and Peter divorced and she chose to remarry, she never guessed how deep her first husband’s hatred would run. Once Peter became their son Dash’s custodial parent, he launched a campaign to manipulate the boy into believing that the only way he could show love and loyalty to his father was by utterly rejecting his mother. Pamela tried every way she could to repair her relationship with her saddened and heartbroken son and to rescue him from an environment characterized by brainwashing, alcoholism, and neglect. But the courts worked against her at every turn, and before long, she and her son were stuck in a nightmare of Peter’s making . . . a nightmare with a desperately unhappy ending.

Who’ll Love It: Those with an interest in psychology – particularly the manipulation and brainwashing you see in cults – will love Richardson’s in-depth account of what it’s like for a family to live with the effects of PAS. Be warned, though: it’s a dark and depressing story, and it ends with a lesson learned the hard way. It doesn’t make for cheerful reading, but I think it conveys an important message with a very personal touch. It’s important reading for anybody who’s involved in the family court system or even for parents who are divorcing, to reinforce a clear understanding about why putting the child in the middle of a battle for loyalty can be a devastating mistake.

In Memoriam: In addition to writing the book, author Pamela Richardson has done a lot to keep Dash’s memory alive. She created The Dash Foundation to raise awareness about parental alienation and domestic abuse, particularly within Canada’s family law framework. She also keeps a blog about PAS and provides other resources for interested readers at her A Kidnapped Mind website. “If my book, A Kidnapped Mind, can save even one child from what Dash went through,” she says, “then my family’s struggle will not have been in vain.” God bless Pamela Richardson for choosing to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.

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