Wow! The Packing House is so poetic, so sad, and so moving all at the same time. G. Donald Cribbs's debut novel is about Joel Scrivener, a 16 year old boy who has been a victim of CSA (Child Sexual Abuse). A thing he has repressed for years without even knowing but will have to get to the bottom of before he can be whole again or at least attempt to move passed it.
The summary goes as this : "When sixteen-year-old Joel Scrivener has a raging nightmare in study hall and someone records it on their phone, he awakens to a living nightmare where everyone knows the secret he's avoided for ten years. Reeling from a series of bullying incidents posted on YouTube and an ill-timed mid-year move, Joel takes to the woods, leaving the bullies and his broken home behind. However, life as a runaway isn’t easy. Joel finds it difficult to navigate break-ins, wrestle hallucinations, and elude capture. He races to figure out who his dream-world attacker could be, piecing clues together with flashes of remembered images that play endlessly inside his head. Besides these images, the one constant thought occupying Joel’s mind is Amber Walker, the girl he’s been in love with for years. Amber sees little beyond the broken boy Joel has become, despite the letters they’ve written back and forth to each other. But Joel is stronger and more resilient than he looks, and it’s time he convinces Amber of this fact, before he runs out of chances with her for good."
Cribbs' writing is so smooth, lyrical, and so elegant. I can't 'un-picture' what Joel went through even though the narrative wasn't graphic. I recommend his book to anyone as it raises awareness about Child Sexual Abuse; a thing very close to home for me. We need to watch our children carefully especially around non-relatives we label family. Even with blood relatives, the line can be blurred. It's sickening. Statistics for CSA are alarming and ever growing. But speaking up and not turning a blind eye is the key to eradicate this wrong. Joel is a survivor and so are many of us. We need to keep writing like Cribbs and we need more stories like his to continue to raise awareness on CSA and any type of abuse out there.
I raise awareness on intimacy for the same reason because where there is no awareness, human nature become predator like and hurt lives by using unlawful and traumatizing outlets to relieve the urge. Born and made predators can be dealt with if children are being taught at a young age what boundaries they need to put on their bodies and on others trying to violate their privacy. Open the line of communication about sex the moment your children start talking. I mean it. Start the conversation early with your children so they can tell you right away when bad things occur or they can avoid putting themselves in situations where they can be taken advantage of or in situations where they can take advantage of others. And stand by your children when they relate a disturbing tale to you and don't make them out to be liars. Children for the most part don't lie. They usually say it how it is.
Thank you for reading,