Every now and then, we watch or read something that hits a nerve. It strikes us so deep in our core because it hits very close to home.
For me, Rising by Darnella Ford was that book. It is for that reason that this intense read will always remain unforgettable.
Although a fictional read, Ford conveys themes that are very much a part of real life. Drugs, poverty, sexuality, rape, sexual abuse, incest, and racism are evident themes woven to create the narrative of Symone, an adopted biracial woman who experiences insurmountable trauma that many wouldn’t dare imagine ever going through.
Symone explicitly tells her story, leaving nothing to interpretation. The product of a heroin/crack addicted mother and non-existent father, Symone grew up tragically neglected.
Although her mother was in her life, she would desert Symone for hours, sometimes days. Knowing a life only of dysfunctionality and abandonment, Symone’s broken childhood will overwhelm you.
Unfortunately, the tragedy doesn’t stop there.
Symone was funneled into the foster care system after the passing of her mother, and shortly after was adopted by a wealthy white couple. This is where things get direly grim.
Her supposed white saviors entrapped an already fragile Symone into a sickening world. One full of treacherous appearances, heart-wrenching secrets, and surprising truths.
It was hell on earth, and it wasn’t like this just for Symone, but her adopted sisters as well.
Through these characters, Ford wasn’t afraid to explore the conditions many children growing up in impoverished communities go through when their parents or guardians are battling drug/ alcohol addictions.
She also wasn’t afraid to explore the budding discovery of a child’s newfound sexuality, the psyche of victims suffering from post-traumatic sexual traumas, or even the psyche of sexual perpetrators/ abusers.
This book is unsettlingly honest in how it addresses these issues, which is why I advise having someone to read or discuss this with afterwards, especially if you’re a victim of sexual abuse like me.
I wasn’t successful at getting anyone around me to read this book as I’m not surrounded by those willing to take a few hours of their time to read something other than a post of their IG/ twitter feed, but I wished I could because many of the things brought up in this book are worth the conversation even if you’re not a victim.
What I love about this book is the reading group guide offered on the very last page, so if you choose to make a discussion group on this piece you can. Ford offers great questions that I feel can be very therapeutic.
In all, I hope my brief analysis didn’t deter you from wanting to check this book out. I would advise every person, regardless of male or female, victim or not, to read this book.
Purely for the fact that narratives like this, although painful, provide us with insight into the strength of the human spirit.
We’re all worthy of healing, and more deserving and able to achieve this than we think.