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Reviews of Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence

"Dad, there are things about my childhood I'd like to know.
"I don't want to talk about it. It would only hurt your mother.
"But Dad, you're the only one who can tell me."
"I don't want to talk about it, it would only hurt your mother."

Secrets. Lies. Silences. Stories told by parents and families to protect themselves. A father who defends his wife at the expense of his older daughter's health and welfare. A mother, shielded by her husband, perpetuates murderous acts of violence on her older daughter, keeps secret her husband's sexual "play" with their oldest daughter.

And yet... Nancy King, determined to learn the truth of her childhood and the heartbreaking affects it has on her adult life, uncovers the secrets. Sees through the lies. Breaks the silence.

Empowered by the stories she told herself as a child, she learns to use stories as part of her work as a university professor teaching theatre, drama, world literature, creative expression. Gradually, with the help of body work and therapy, she finds her voice. Says no to abuse and abusers. Reclaims her self and life. Writes a memoir.

She climbs mountains. Weaves tapestries. Writes books. Makes friends. Creates a meaningful life.

Read an excerpt

Order the Book Here


Praise for Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence is a gift, sometimes wrapped in brightly colored
paper with a sparkly bow, other times a heart-wrenching lump of
coal. It is powerful, positive, creative, spunky, and painful, but not pitiful.
There are sad secrets unmasked. It is not for the faint of heart. It is
instead an illusion shattered but not defeated. Read it with a glass of
wine, if you dare!
—Carole Owens

Breaking the Silence weaves together still-relevant stories from the deep
past with Nancy King's own struggle to understand and overcome the
trauma of her early life. Her words in this memoir offer the possibility
of healing and renewal.

—William Abrashkin, author, retired judge

Nancy King's new book, Breaking the Silence, also breaks new ground
for the author. An acclaimed novelist and professor of storytelling, she
mines the treacherous cavern of abuse, lies, and silence that trapped
her for much of her life. This is a powerful memoir of pain—and ultimately
empowerment—as King develops the tools to shatter the silence
and learn the truth of her life.
—Judith Fein, author of How to Communicate With the Dead

Not only is it amazing that Nancy King survived her traumatic childhood
but also that she is still creating a rich and varied life year by year,
decade by decade. In this book, she creatively shapes the reality of a
traumatic childhood into a work of art. Yet there is joy in her memoir
too; it is full of love because it is full of stories. In the Jewish tradition
of Tikkun Olam—repairing the world—Nancy works toward repairing
the world of her childhood.
—Claudia M. Reder, author of How to Disappear

Nancy King's compelling new memoir skillfully reaches into the hidden
depths of a lifetime lived with childhood trauma. We see how the
wounds inflicted on her when she was young and vulnerable led to a
lifetime of struggle but also how she created a life of incredible adventure,
inquiry, and connection as she found her way home.

—Helen Chantler

A riveting memoir about the conspiracy of silence hiding the horrors
of violence and sexual abuse Nancy King suffered at the hands of family
members, resulting in physical and emotional scars that filled her with
shame and confusion. She learned not to feel, not to talk about what
had happened. For years, she endured self-doubt and traumatic flashbacks,
but through it all, she found her voice, and helped others to find
their voices as well. Breaking the Silence is a powerful and engaging account
of one woman's struggle to live a meaningful and joy-filled life.
—David M. Pody, playwright

Nancy King demonstrated incredible courage in surviving the abusive
childhood she describes in Breaking the Silence. The fact that she also
thrived as an accomplished educator and writer is remarkable—as
is Nancy herself! The first time I read her memoir, I was swiftly carried
through by her astonishing personal experiences. The second time, I
slowed down, savoring her stunning creativity.

—Cheryl Gill, teacher

An extraordinary memoir. Hopefully it will encourage others to write
or speak out about their past and let the healing process continue.

—June Parnes

Nancy King is a powerful storyteller who presents her memoir in a
strong and masterful way. Her words are deeply touching on an emotional
level and invite readers to go inside themselves and explore their
inner truths.

—Barbara Radov, MSW, LCSW


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Updated February 2020.

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