Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on June 22nd 201
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Alessa is just seven years old when her uncle rapes her for the first time. As the years pass, his sexual appetite becomes more voracious and his perversion more twisted, until the abuse has become almost a daily ritual, with the unspoken involvement of the girl's mother.
At the age of sixteen, after the death of her only friend, Alessa finds herself at the mercy of her real-life monster, with no relief in sight. She flees her home to escape this hell, only to find herself descending into a more dangerous one. Alone and helpless in the streets of North Philadelphia, she encounters more human predators who want to take over her life and devour her. About to hit rock bottom, Alessa manages to break away from her new tormentors and finds refuge in a shelter for homeless and abused women.
Wherever she goes, however, trouble keeps seeking her out, until she meets three people who change the course of her life forever. Though Alessa's bittersweet journey is perpetually fraught with challenges, she does, nevertheless, manage to find fleeting moments of joy along the way. But as she begins to settle down, a ghost from the past comes to haunt her again, threatening to destroy the very foundation of her small world and plunging her back into an abyss of despair, until she makes her final bid for escape.
Wow… I just read the most horrific but beautiful book. The horrifying parts were exactly that, horrifying. The detail that Paige Dearth is able to get into not only tugs at your heart strings for the main character Alessa, but multiple times I found my face covered in tears. This is not for the faint at heart and I knew that going in but reading a synopsis and then reading this kind of writing is a completely different story. Fortunately I had time to have breaks in between the really bad parts, which by the way, is most of the book. So this took me a lot longer to read then my normal stories even though it only has 444 pages.
Those 444 pages are filled with an intensity so deep that although you’re reading about a character in a book, you will feel like you were cut yourself, or your loved one, or child. It’s horrendous and yet I felt like I must keep reading, even if only to find out if Alessa would find some kind of happiness in her life.
That said there are not always going to be great happy moments in life. Although some of what happens is because of the choices Alessa makes I think she feels lost and alone. Sometimes even when we’re surrounded by people we still feel as if there is nobody to talk to so as much as I wanted her to reach out I knew she really couldn’t. And then the people she does find that could have good in them wind up not. It’s excruciating to read but life isn’t about fairy tales and ballets and unicorns. This stuff really happens and it sucks but it’s true.
This was a really hard read. Not because of the author’s writing though. The subject matter at hand is just horrible. As I said above I had to take breathers otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get through. Which also makes this incredibly hard to rate! The overall plot definitely stuck with me though and that says something in itself!
Born and raised in Plymouth Meeting, a small town west of Philadelphia, Paige Dearth was a victim of child rape and spent her early years yearning for a better life. To escape the unwanted attentions of her molester, a pedophile uncle who lived with the family, she married at the age of nineteen and moved with her new husband to Chula Vista, California. After two years of marriage during which she struggled to make ends meet, she became pregnant, only to discover that her husband was a heroin addict. Paige waited for the birth of her daughter and when the baby was just eight months old, moved back to Pennsylvania. With no formal education or money to fall back on, she courageously set out to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and make it whole once more.
Living through the fear and isolation of her youth, Paige developed the ability to create stories that would help her cope and finally put them to use by embarking on a series of novels. BELIEVE LIKE A CHILD, the author’s debut offering, is the darkest version of who she could have become, had fate not intervened in the nick of time.
WHEN SMILES FADE Paige’s second novel is a tale of endurance, perseverance, courage and the overwhelming desire of one child to fight back.
Paige’s novels always present a fine balance between what lives on in her imagination and the evil that lurks in the real world.