Gewanda J. Parker
MSI Press (2015)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (08/16)
“It Only Hurts When I Can’t Run” by Gewanda J. Parker, tells the story of a young girl, abused and then abandoned by her drug-addicted mother. When she wasn’t left alone to care for her siblings, Oma was usually placed in situations where she was either abused or neglected. Even when her materialistic needs were being met, her emotional needs often were not. Fortunately, there were a few people in her world that she knew loved her and that she could trust them
Her above average intelligence most likely helped Oma with her survival skills. Constantly being moved around and changing schools was difficult, especially when she had to defend herself for having a mom that was an addict. No matter where she lived, Oma was often victimized in some way, whether it was neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or rape, she rarely felt able to let her guard down or felt safe. The neglect and abuse on the part of her mother was also demoralizing. She couldn’t trust the one person who was supposed to love her unconditionally. In spite of the heart-wrenching moments in Oma’s life, she still managed to work through the things that happened to her and not only did she become a very successful woman, she also was able to put what she learned from her experiences to use in helping others.
“It Only Hurts When I Can’t Run” affected me to my core. Working with adult students who survived some really bad childhoods like Oma’s helped me to relate to her story. Seeing that she was able to forgive her mother at the end was very inspirational to me, because I am not sure that I could have done this after what she had done to her. Oma inspired me because, being able to forgive her mother and separate the person that she was from the addiction allowed her to heal and grow so that she could direct her energy towards helping others. Gewanda J. Parker taught me a lesson in humility, and for that, I am humbled.
I highly recommend that counselors, therapists, and survivors of abuse read “It Only Hurts When I Can’t Run” by Gewanda J. Parker. There are lessons in it to be learned by all.