guest post by Marla Perrin
Heather Young’s Ezra and Hadassah: A Portrait of American Royalty is a poignant memoir. This book has been compared to a Latter-day Saint version of Glass Castle. Indeed, the author weaves together a masterful tapestry of experiences that she and her brother undergo in foster care, with their later adoption by a Mormon family, and with their continued struggles as adults.
Brutally honest about the unorthodox way she was raised, the author talks about her birth parents who suffered from severe mental disabilities. Her birth parents were not only forced to give their two children up, but were taken advantage of by social workers. The author also shares the more intimate parts of her experiences. She shares accounts of her biological brother, who never mentally matured to adulthood but still had a sweet, strong love for his “best friend,” Jesus. Her brother was able to touch many people, especially towards the end of his life. She also shares her struggles with learning to trust others and learning that people could really love her for who she was and would not judge her because of her past.
The author is completely straight-forward about the physical, sexual, and mental abuse that occurred during her childhood. She details life in her adoptive family and how often she was victim-shamed as a problem child. Presented in a factual manner, readers are not only able to gather a sense of the everyday horrors she experienced, but also her overwhelming hope that things would become better one day.
I personally loved this book. Beautiful and well-written, it gives other survivors of abuse (like me) hope. I would recommend this as an excellent teaching tool for those who want to truly understand what occurs in abusive situations. Throughout this book, readers are brought to an understanding of the author’s belief in seeing the protective hand of God in her life, and her sense of having God as a constant presence throughout challenging life experiences.
Marla Perrin is an aspiring writer and photographer. She spends her time traveling between Maryland and Florida with her support dog, Charlie.