Ten years into her marriage, Idalia faces an identity crisis with the reappearance of one of her abusers and ironically earmarked as a longtime friend of the family. Switching over to a teenage persona—a combination of provocative dress and engaging in drugs and alcohol, Idalia blatantly disregards her marriage to Jay as she gets involved with Keegan, a new love in her life. With her life spiraling out of control, Idalia seeks counseling. It is the first time she realizes that she needs to address her past. What follows is an in-depth four-year description of Idalia’s journey into self-awareness and spiritual healing.
Five years in the making, Trish Egan’s fictionalized memoir has one main objective: “to help other survivors of childhood sexual abuse.” Based on a ten-year-period of events and “the consequences of having been sexually abused as a child,” Egan’s first person narrative features a woman whose critical choices lead her to healing and wholeness. Egan’s portrayal of Idalia and her journey is nothing less than candid and visceral. As Idalia goes through various programs and counseling, Egan points out the awkwardness that often accompanies people who desire change in their lives. Many times it means making decisions that go against the grain of familial and societal mores and expectations. In Idalia’s case, a good handful of choices rub her family and friends the wrong way, and as a result Idalia experiences bouts of isolation.
Using Idalia’s voice, Egan raises awareness to truths that aren’t normally discussed in self-help books. One brazen example is that people are afraid of change, and since they are clueless to the bondage within their tainted “codependent” bubbles (or comfort zones), they ironically resort to backlashing individuals like Idalia. Highly recommended, I Am Sunshine is an on-point read for those who dare to face their demons.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review
Author Trish Egan has dedicated her book I Am Sunshine to survivors of childhood abuse. Her fictionalized heroine, Idalia, was sexually abused as a child and as a consequence developed coping and survival strategies that made her life appear perfect on the outside, but which felt emotionally disconnected and empty inside. Idalia reaches a turning point when she leaves her safe but unsatisfying marriage and embarks on a long, painful and challenging emotional and spiritual journey that uncovers her true self, and her purpose. She bravely tackles counselling, spiritual retreats, group therapy, and new relationships. Her determination to understand herself, face her fear of emotions and her demons, and step out on a new life path leads her to the beginnings of happiness.
I Am Sunshine is a well-written and thought-provoking book. It doesn’t dwell on the moments of abuse, but concentrates on the victim’s (Idalia’s) adult life and the behaviours, relationship patterns and safety strategies she has unconsciously built around herself. Trish Egan writes with insight and empathy and the life of her main character is typical of many who suffered (like the author) abuse in childhood. For example, the need for control, fear of feeling and showing emotions, secrecy, avoidance of difficult situations, as well as the moment when a crisis is reached and life begins to unravel before it can be put back together in a healthier, stronger and fulfilling way. Idalia is a very real and likable character, and readers will identify with her struggles. Her inner resourcefulness and determination make her an inspiration and encouragement too as she steers herself away from the chains of her past into the new warmth and light of her own “sunshine.”I liked the honesty in this story – as in real life, Idalia doesn’t experience a quick fix of her traumas, and has to be prepared to seek out and a quick fix of her traumas, and has to be prepared to seek out and engage with the help that is right for her. I also loved the hopefulness and “new beginnings” feel to the ending – as well as the numerous enlightening quotes throughout the book. While dealing with a serious theme, I Am Sunshine is very readable, with a positive tone and a very special strength that will pull you into the story of Idalia’s personal and spiritual journey. For readers who have also suffered abuse. it offers encouragement and hope, and for others much insight and understanding.
Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite
I Am Sunshine: One Woman’s Journey to Heal from Childhood Sexual Abuse by Trish Egan is a beautiful book of survival and rising from the ashes. The story follows Idalia Niloc, who is living an idyllic life in a beautiful house with a great husband. She had everything that a person can hope to achieve, including a job that paid her well. Even though she and her husband have a wonderful life together, there is something missing from her life that leaves her feeling incomplete. She may seem ungrateful to people, but she is simply unhappy.
To find out what is wrong with her, she has to rediscover herself, find the missing pieces, and put them back together to live a fulfilling life. For that, she upturns her life and embarks on a journey that takes her into the past in order to come to terms with the horrible act that happened to her when she was just a kid.
I really admire writers who have the guts to accept their hardships and write about it. It takes a lot of strength to come to terms with something like this, write a novel, and have people from all walks of life read it. The way she handled the PTSD was great, she did not make it an unbearable event (even though it is), she made her heroine rise above and fight it. She did not make her a victim. She made Idalia a phoenix. A great book about survival and coming to terms with one’s past. I absolutely loved the cover. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends because this is a gem of a novel!
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