I am writing you this letter to talk about your book ‘When We Remember They Call Us Liars’. I had so many thoughts when reading this book that I actually found it quite hard to talk to you about it in person, as I wasn’t sure what exactly to say, and I felt quite strange knowing so much about my teacher. In fact, I don’t think I’ve read so much about any person before now. Anyway, I have to say that in no way what-so-ever do I regret it, and I am so pleased to have had not only the chance to read it, but to actually get to tell you everything I thought about it. I only hope in this letter I can get through everything I have to say, because not often do I have a lot to say, as I do with this!
I hope it doesn’t sound strange, but going into your book the first thing that I noticed was this way of writing you have. To me, the way people express themselves can make such a difference to a book, and it even makes me choose whether to keep reading or not. I always love it when people use lots of detail when they write and when they’re describing things, as you did in this because I can get a little impatient when I have to use my own imagination. Actually, some things you described in such detail that I felt I couldn’t keep up with everything! But as I read back over, I liked having a clear picture of what you were talking about; such as the places you were at and things like that. I also noticed straight away that you were not afraid to quote people in the exact words they would say, even when it’s your mother cursing at one the children, or you cursing at someone. Even though I knew from the first line this wouldn’t be a happy story, it made me smile when reading things like that; I almost found it quite humorous, because I tried to imagine you saying these things in person. I actually had to keep reminding myself that this was you I was reading about, it was quite surreal. I think my point is that I feel like you really tried to keep the book true to yourself as well as to the people in it and I thought that was awesome.
As soon as I found out your book was about your childhood, I knew I’d want to read it. For some reason I’ve always found hearing about people’s childhoods fascinating, especially because it’s not often something that people want to talk about, even more in a case like yours. Something that I kept thinking was “wow, she has one hell of a memory”. I couldn’t believe just how much you remember; the slightest events, the things people said to you and things like that. Not even just about your parents, the funniest little things like finding quick-eze down the side of the couches. To me, this is what made your book so interesting (maybe this is the case with most memoirs - I hadn’t read one before yours if I’m honest!) This also made me wonder about whether people choose to remember things. I for one remember weird things from when I was little that my family think I must have dreamt it. But when your siblings, say now they don’t remember the things you do, this really shocks me. All I can think is maybe it’s because they don’t want to? They’re too scared. Honestly, I think I’d be scared too. I really don’t know what I’d do in your situation or theirs. This really says a lot to me about your character. You aren’t afraid to talk, to stand up for yourself. To say you remember! I think that’s rare and I love it. To speak up about it is brave enough, to write a book about it is something else.
I feel like I should talk about your dad seeing as that’s the biggest issue, although I should say that I find this really hard for some reason, even though it’s not even my own story. I usually try to avoid hearing anything about these sorts of things, I try to convince myself that the world is perfect and these things don’t really happen, just to keep myself sane. Reading your book, it really opened my eyes. I think even more because I realized this hasn’t just happened to you, but has happened, or is happening to people almost everyday. I don’t know whether I feel more angry or more sad about this. I feel angry because I wish I could do more about it. I guess feeling like I can’t do anything is sort of the reason I do try and block out hearing these things. It also really makes me question the idea of ‘Everything Happens For A Reason’. I don’t understand how something like this had to happen to someone like you. I just want to say sorry to you, even though it doesn’t change anything.
When you hear about something someone has been through, that you’ve never experienced yourself, it’s hard to fathom. They can tell you what they’re thinking, but you’ll never ever really know everything they feel, think etc. Obviously I still don’t know everything you feel today, but after reading your book I just feel glad for you that you’ve written it and even told what you have (maybe it’s just because I love telling stories too). Particularly when it comes to parts like your Dad, I feel so angry just reading about him, and at the same time proud on your behalf that you have spoken out about it, given yourself some sort of justice. I think many people reading your book would feel the same, and for anyone who may have experienced anything similar, I’d hope they can learn from you to stand up and speak up for themselves (a very invaluable lesson).You’re such a brave, incredible person; I can see this from your book and from meeting you in person too.
To say why or why not I think others should a read your book usually makes me feel nervous, because obviously everyone has their own opinion of what they enjoy reading. But, since this is my opinion being asked, I feel no hesitation in saying that if I could, I’d make everyone read this book. Yes, I definitely would. I think this book can benefit anyone reading it in one way or another, whether it be someone like me who doesn’t often acknowledge these sort of incidents, or just giving someone the inspiration to stand strong as you have. And as I said before, you have such a nice way of writing that I think anyone would enjoy reading it. There’s not much else I can say, but I hope many people to come have the pleasure of hearing your story, maybe not to hear the awful things that had to happen to you, but to see that people can go on in life after these things anyway.
Coming from what I just said, one final thing I have to say to you is that I often keeping thinking what a nice person you are today despite what you’ve been through. So many people that you meet will blame their childhood or their past for the fact that they are sour, rude or a certain way today. They’ll try to use it as an excuse for treating others badly. Just like people often blame their parents for the way they treat their children, because “that’s how they were brought up”. I’ve already seen that you’re not that person, even though you could be a miserable sad sack today and blame your past. Instead, you act as if it has only made you stronger, and if anything, a nicer person. That’s the best thing, and I think everyone can learn from that.
It was a pleasure to read your book Suzi, and I wish that nothing ever so bad has to come your way again.