Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tolson 4 TEARS* Reviews "God, If You're Not Up There"

Darrell Hammond has offered our society a story about pop-culture by describing his work as a comedian. He has also generously shared that which we don’t see beneath the mask of entertainer: the depths to which child abuse destroys the psyche. A writer who can tell this story of trauma, its ramifications, and recovery is generous enough to let others know that they are not alone. It is significant to solving social problems when a celebrity reveals that all that glitters is not gold; breaking the silence of child abuse is a courageous step toward awareness of the need for prevention. Mr. Hammond describes the crisis ridden life he led, which he fed with alcohol, drugs, and a constant need for intervention.
The audience of Saturday Night Live may enjoy the behind-the-scenes activity of Hammond’s career on the show. However, audiences of his award-winning acting may not have known the origin of his genius. Apparently, his voice was not heard as a child, until he noticed that his mother would often stop abusing him when he mimicked others’ voices. He tells the readers how he developed this talent as a means of self-protection. Hammond writes poignantly about his father and their relationship, or lack thereof. Meanwhile, Hammond felt scared to death of the world at large. The fear shadowed him, and showered him with insecurities that led to multiple self-destructive behaviors. The pressurized public life as an entertainer and the intense private life as a trauma victim was his reality in paradox.
The writing style seems appropriate for the man and the material. There is no sensationalizing of the trauma he endured; he tells this story as it unfolds for him, in unbearable explosions of flashbacks and nightmares. Hammond is tortured, as was his cold father and cruel mother, but he does not torment the reader with unnecessary scenarios of abuse. He gives the reader enough details of the child abuse to understand his inner hell. After countless rehabs and psych wards, misdiagnosis and medications, he also gives the reader reason to hope for Hammond’s continuation in recovery and contentment in relationships.

Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story

*Tolson 4 TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide, so no shed tear is wasted

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