Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review of "A Private Family Matter" by Victor Rivas Rivers by Tolson 4 TEARS*

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

Review of  A Private Family Matter by Victor Rivas Rivers

How does a child survive his boyhood with a father who delivers endless emotional, verbal, and physical torture?


This is what the reader learns from Victor Rivas. Born in Cuba, his family immigrated to America before Castro’s rule. Yet Victor did not escape the sadistic dictatorship of his own father. The torture that the father inflicted upon his family is difficult for a reader to process, yet it brings awareness to the tough topic of domestic violence.

The reader learns of a frustrating social system that denied resources to the most vulnerable victims: women and children. When Victor’s mother visits a police station to tell of the abuse she was experiencing, she was told that there was nothing they could do. They told her to call the next time he was beating her! When Victor ran to the police station to show his bruised pubescent body to the officers, they told him there was nothing they could do because it was “a private family matter.”

Victor’s father ruined everything, and stole his son’s right to self-determination. After witnessing abuse upon his mother, his brothers, and his pets, as well as enduring the vicious assaults from his father, Victor runs away from his house-of-horrors. He was safer sleeping in a cemetery. Naturally, he becomes a hostile, hopeless adolescent.

Yet Victor was rescued by seven families, teachers, and coaches. He spent the last years of high school learning to give and receive love. He became an athlete, actor, and advocate.

A review of 300-400 words cannot possibly convey the poignancy of this story. It is well-written, with a sprinkling of enjoyable observations, such as an anecdote about acclimating to Miami in August, and the bug life “spawned by the moisture.” Victor Rivas Rivers also shares his survival lessons as he pushes through his tough assignment.

As an author of a memoir with the same topics, I can identify with the ironic twists and turns of the home-site battlefield, as well as the universal themes of triumph over tragedy. As an advocate, I would recommend this book as “a must read” for breaking the silence and cycles of violence and challenging society to promote peace in our homes.


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

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