My rating: 2 of 5 stars
In Our House: Perception Vs. Reality is a memoir written by Marala Scott recounting the extreme verbal and physical abuse suffered by her, her mother, and her brothers at the hands of her father. As a result of her suffering and later healing, Marala was chosen to be an Oprah Ambassador of Hope in 2009. From what I can see of her presence online, Marala has transformed her horrific life experiences into hope and motivation for others who may be experiencing the same. But getting to where she is today was an endeavor nobody would want to endure.
In Our House follows the home life of Marala Scott, her brothers, and her mother under the frightening rule of their father and husband. Highly sought after by high-ranking government agencies, outward appearances betray the true tale of their daily life. Abuse, both verbal and physical, plagued the children and caused their mother to find solace in the demons of Satanism. This book is a guided tour through the worst of Marala’s experiences.
Reading this book was a labor of compassion and sympathy for me. I have never endured abuse and rarely heard of abuse so persistent and evil. I struggled with the believability of the memories Marala shared. Her age at the time of the memoir compared to the age she was when writing it give me pause as to consider how much of the story has been rewritten in her memory, minor embellishments accumulating over the years resulting in what actually happened magnified and distorted to a terrifying degree. I do not intend to discount Ms. Scott’s experiences, but the extreme detail of the dialogue without adequate concession that these words weren’t possibly remembered with such clarity pulls me away from the ability to trust fully.
Despite this glaring issue (for me), the book is engaging while emotionally difficult. The level of desperation is immense. Sympathy is strong for these children trapped in a world of abuse with no escape. Apparently schools back then didn’t give a damn about kids with (per the author) visibly deep and repeated bruising? Their ordeal must have been utterly and constantly terrifying.
Once Alley (Marala and boys’ mom) started dabbling in Satanism, I disconnected in a big way from the book. I read on because I was invested in the stories of the children, but the part with Mom and the demons was bizarre.
Apart from my distrust of the accuracy of the tale as it’s relayed, the core truth remains that the childhood of these kids was ruined by the ego and temper of their father, and this aspect of the story makes it worth reading. I found myself in need of taking a break fairly often; my brain needed to remove itself from the onslaught of verbal and physical abuse.
It’s a good book to read, especially for those of us who have lived a very different kind of life and could use a little perspective on the struggles that other people go through, yet rise way, way above that and come out living an exceptional life. A wake-up call!
Religious note: There was a LOT of religion in this book. I did not feel preached at. Rather, I felt like Marala shared with the reader how she got through these tangled mess of a childhood. There is a lot of what could be construed as proselytizing, but again, I was easily able to keep it in the context of what she went through and not at all did I feel annoyed by it.
I was provided this book free of charge via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.