(Thank you, Bloomsbury Publishing via NetGalley, for the free digital copy to review. All opinions are my own.)
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Daughters by: T Kira Madden
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Length: 336 pages
From the title alone, I figured I was getting into a memoir that dealt heavily with grief. And while it did, there was so much more in this novel…there were themes of addiction, trauma from sexual assault, bi-racial and queer identity, and forgiveness.
From the first page, T Kira Madden writes with an integrity that forces her readers to become emotionally involved very quickly. As a young bi-racial child, Madden was raised by her single (Chinese-Hawaiian) mother (her father (white) was actually married to another woman and had two sons). Eventually, he moves in with Madden and her mother and a complicated relationship follows. While her parents struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, Madden is often left very much alone. I felt for this poor lonely girl.
One of the most powerful chapters in the book is also a previously published essay, “The Feels of Love”. In it, Madden talks about being sexually assaulted by a few upperclassmen from school. I feel like her vulnerability – as well as bravery for speaking out on such a personal topic – is to be commended because I believe it helps foster a place for other victims to feel safe to speak out against their abusers. We need to hear these stories so people don’t have to carry the burden alone and so they can confidently seek out help if they want/need it.
Through all of this, Madden is also struggling with her sexual identity. She finds herself drawn more and more towards women than men. Again, her ability to put her thoughts and feelings on paper is so well done that it almost feels personal.
As you’re reading, you’re watching Madden’s struggle to find her way through the things that have happened to her. She comes out on the other side stronger for the things she’s dealt with and it made me realize that all lessons in life – the good ones and the bad ones – are necessary. They shape us and form us. They mold us and put us on the path we’re meant to be on…and sometimes we can only realize that in hindsight.