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In Too Afraid to Cry, Ali Cobby Eckermann—who was recently awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world—describes with searing detail the devastating effects of racist policies that tore apart Indigenous Australian communities and created the Stolen Generations of “adoptees,” Aboriginal children forcibly taken from their birt In Too Afraid to Cry, Ali Cobby Eckermann—who was recently awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world—describes with searing detail the devastating effects of racist policies that tore apart Indigenous Australian communities and created the Stolen Generations of “adoptees,” Aboriginal children forcibly taken from their birth families. Told at first through the frank eyes of a child whose life was irretrievably changed after being “adopted” into a German Lutheran family, Too Afraid to Cry braids piercingly lyrical verse with spare prose to tell an intensely personal story of abuse and trauma. After years of suffering as a dark-skinned “outsider,” Eckermann reveals her courageous efforts to reconcile with her birth family and find acceptance within their Indigenous community. Too Afraid to Cry offers a mirror to America and Canada’s own dark history of coerced adoption of Native American children, and the violence inflicted on our continent’s Indigenous peoples.


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In Too Afraid to Cry, Ali Cobby Eckermann—who was recently awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world—describes with searing detail the devastating effects of racist policies that tore apart Indigenous Australian communities and created the Stolen Generations of “adoptees,” Aboriginal children forcibly taken from their birt In Too Afraid to Cry, Ali Cobby Eckermann—who was recently awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world—describes with searing detail the devastating effects of racist policies that tore apart Indigenous Australian communities and created the Stolen Generations of “adoptees,” Aboriginal children forcibly taken from their birth families. Told at first through the frank eyes of a child whose life was irretrievably changed after being “adopted” into a German Lutheran family, Too Afraid to Cry braids piercingly lyrical verse with spare prose to tell an intensely personal story of abuse and trauma. After years of suffering as a dark-skinned “outsider,” Eckermann reveals her courageous efforts to reconcile with her birth family and find acceptance within their Indigenous community. Too Afraid to Cry offers a mirror to America and Canada’s own dark history of coerced adoption of Native American children, and the violence inflicted on our continent’s Indigenous peoples.

30 review for Too Afraid to Cry: Memoir of a Stolen Childhood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Taryn

    So if you see someone like me Who’s drunk and loud and cursing Don’t judge too hard, you never know What sorrows we are nursing. (from the poem "I Tell You True") Between 1910 and 1970, tens of thousands of Indigenous children of mixed-descent were forcibly removed from their families under the Australian government's assimilation policies.* These children are now known as the Stolen Generations. Many women were forced or tricked into giving their children up for adoption; Ali Cobby Eckermann's o So if you see someone like me Who’s drunk and loud and cursing Don’t judge too hard, you never know What sorrows we are nursing. (from the poem "I Tell You True") Between 1910 and 1970, tens of thousands of Indigenous children of mixed-descent were forcibly removed from their families under the Australian government's assimilation policies.* These children are now known as the Stolen Generations. Many women were forced or tricked into giving their children up for adoption; Ali Cobby Eckermann's own birth mother was told that Ali had died shortly after her birth. Eckermann was adopted by a loving family, but she endured physical, sexual, and verbal abuse from her peers and extended family. She always felt like an outsider. Even as a young girl, she felt like she had to bear her troubles alone. She coped with the repressed anger and shame by abusing drugs and alcohol. Her experiences are common among those who were taken from their families. I did not cry or yell out. I hadn’t been able to cry for some time now. It felt like all my tears had evaporated out of my body, and the icy wind had turned into an ice block. After a while the ice block had turned to stone, and now there was no moisture left inside me. If you are unfamiliar with Australia's Stolen Generations or Aboriginal culture, I recommend doing a little research first. There's little explanation in this book, so I had difficulty placing this personal story into context. However, Eckermann's words inspired me to learn more. The sparse prose, straightforward storytelling, and the inclusion of the author's poetry make this memoir a quick read, but the subject matter is difficult from the very first chapter. My favorite poem included was "Circles and Squares," which I've quoted below. Four things stuck out to me as I was reading: (1) the way children internalize adult's well-meaning advice, (2) Eckermann's powerful descriptions of becoming hardened as a protective mechanism, (3) the concept of intergenerational trauma, and (4) the Indigenous kinship system/Eckermann's feeling of being happiest when all of her families were together. The moment when Eckermann meets her twelve-year-old niece for the first time is so touching: "The realisation that my family characteristics extend beyond my mother is fantastic. This is a new experience for me. It is a beautiful sensation to know I belong."  I learn that I can’t fully live their traditional lifestyle, and that they can’t live mine. So we compromise. My family teach me bush way, and I teach them the whitefella ways. We grow smarter and stronger as one. Together we are family. This book isn't an ideal introduction to the topic, but it's an important personal record. It shows the damaging effects of ripping children from their families and raising them completely divorced from their heritage. In Too Afraid to Cry, Eckermann chronicles her struggles with shame, guilt, belonging and identity, as well as her journey to find her family, healing, and self-acceptance. It's one woman’s story, but it echoes the stories of many around the world. Circles and Squares I was born Yankunytjatjara My Mother is Yankunytjatjara Her Mother was Yankunytjatjara My Family is Yankunytjatjara I have learnt many things from my Family Elders I have grown to realize that my Life travels in Circles My Aboriginal Culture has taught me that Universal Life is Circular When I was born I was not allowed to live with my Family I grew up in the white man’s world We lived in a Square house We picked fruits and vegetables from neatly fenced Square plot We kept animals in Square paddocks We sat and ate at a Square table We sat on Square chairs I slept in a Square bed I looked at myself in a Square mirror and did not know who I was One day I met my Mother I just knew that this meeting was part of our Healing Circle Then I began to travel I visited places that I had been before But this time I sat down with Family We gathered closely together by big Round camp fires We ate bush tucker, feasting on Round ants and berries We ate meat from animals that lived in Round burrows We slept in Circles on beaches around our fires We sat in the dirt, on Our land, that belongs to a big Round planet We watched the Moon grow to a magnificent yellow Circle That was Our Time I have learnt two different ways now I am thankful for this That is part of my Life Circle My heart is Round like a drum, ready to echo the music of my Family But the Square within me still remains The square hole stops me in my entirety Related Articles and Terms I had to Look Up: * The time period and the number of people affected are a bit fuzzy, but these are the numbers I found at most sources. • Bringing them home: The 'Stolen Children' report (PDF, 1997) by Australian Human Rights Commission • Timeline: Stolen Generations  (Special Broadcasting Service, 2o15) • Generations Stolen - Photographer Matthew Sherwood's photo essay documenting the fates of members of those in the Stolen Generations. • Why they turned their backs by Ali Cobby Eckermann - (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2010) Reaction to former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson's apology speeches. • Mother's Day 2016: Until I met mum, I didn’t know who I was by Ali Cobby Eckermann (National Indigenous Television, 2015) • Australia's stolen generations: a legacy of intergenerational pain and broken bonds - (The Guardian, 2017) • Factbox: What is Sorry Day? - (Special Broadcasting Service, 2o17) National Sorry Day, renamed the National Day of Healing in 2005 • A guide to Australia’s Stolen Generations - It addresses stolen generations from around the world at the end of the article. • Native Americans recall era of forced adoptions - The description of Too Afraid to Cry mentions the US and Canada's history with the forced removals of Native American children, but it's not addressed in the book. This three-minute video from the BBC is about the United States' Indian Adoption Project. • A Generation Removed: The Fostering and Adoption of Indigenous Children in the Postwar World by Margaret D. Jacobs - "In A Generation Removed, a powerful blend of history and family stories, award-winning historian Margaret D. Jacobs examines how government authorities in the post–World War II era removed thousands of American Indian children from their families and placed them in non-Indian foster or adoptive families. " I came across this book while researching and added it to my list. __________ I received this book for free from NetGalley and Liveright. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It's available now!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Siddharth

    Read in June 2015 The memoir is written in simple, spare prose that hides more than it reveals; the verses that intersperse it seek to articulate the pain, heartbreak and hope that the prose chooses to state without elaboration. It's not the kind of book I can easily appreciate - my pig-headedness in understanding verse and inability to fully empathise with the raw emotion that often underpins spare prose proved to be hardy impediments. However, there are enough moments that bring home the unbear Read in June 2015 The memoir is written in simple, spare prose that hides more than it reveals; the verses that intersperse it seek to articulate the pain, heartbreak and hope that the prose chooses to state without elaboration. It's not the kind of book I can easily appreciate - my pig-headedness in understanding verse and inability to fully empathise with the raw emotion that often underpins spare prose proved to be hardy impediments. However, there are enough moments that bring home the unbearable pain that Eckermann had to face, her unsuccessful efforts to escape it, and her bravery in eventually facing her demons with the support of her Aboriginal community. An apologetic 3 stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    This heartbreaking memoir delves into the stolen Indigenous childhood of generations in Australia, as Ali Cobby Eckermann powerfully reflects on how her identity was shaped by these oppressive forces!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emily Polson

    I received this book as an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. In this memoir, Ali Cobby Eckermann recounts her life as she remembers it in simple, straightforward prose divided into 1-2 page chapters and poems. The events packed into these short chapters are heavy--Eckermann is part of the Stolen Generation, Aboriginal children who were taken from their families at birth and adopted into white Australian families between 1910-1970. Her life is a monument to the devastating effec I received this book as an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. In this memoir, Ali Cobby Eckermann recounts her life as she remembers it in simple, straightforward prose divided into 1-2 page chapters and poems. The events packed into these short chapters are heavy--Eckermann is part of the Stolen Generation, Aboriginal children who were taken from their families at birth and adopted into white Australian families between 1910-1970. Her life is a monument to the devastating effect this has had on multiple generations, but also to the healing and reconciliation that is possible despite this deep fracture. Moments of this memoir were quite powerful, simply because the events spoke for themselves. Eckermann grew up in a loving family, but still she faced abuse and bullying, and eventually turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. She was abused by lovers, surrendered her own child for adoption, and eventually reconnected with her Aboriginal roots. All of this was interesting to learn about from a first-hand source, but in many places, the opportunity for storytelling was lost. It began to feel like a chronicle of events written in a bland, fifth-grade tone with minimal artistry. There was room for developing these stories, for delving into more information on the history and culture and time period, but none of these opportunities were taken. Still, I'm glad I read this book; the hour or so it took was time well spent. Some of the poems turned out to be my favorite parts of the memoir--the sparse, deliberately concise nature of poetry complimented Eckermann's style. I'll leave you with a few stanzas from when she meets with some Aboriginal healers: "ochre signals ochre ngankari ngankari sickness is gone you good now girl go get the world"

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kimbofo

    Ali Cobby Eckermann, a poet of indigenous heritage, was not a name familiar to me until she won the international Windham-Campbell Literary Prize for Poetry in 2017. Five years earlier she had published her memoir, Too Afraid to Cry, which I purchased on my recent trip to Australia. It’s a rather brave and beautiful book, one that charts the very personal impact — both good and bad — on a young child taken from her aboriginal family and raised within a white one, what we now know as the Stolen Gen Ali Cobby Eckermann, a poet of indigenous heritage, was not a name familiar to me until she won the international Windham-Campbell Literary Prize for Poetry in 2017. Five years earlier she had published her memoir, Too Afraid to Cry, which I purchased on my recent trip to Australia. It’s a rather brave and beautiful book, one that charts the very personal impact — both good and bad — on a young child taken from her aboriginal family and raised within a white one, what we now know as the Stolen Generations. In stripped back, almost skeletal (and sometimes pedestrian) prose, Cobby Eckermann tells us what it was like to never quite know where she belonged, how she buried her problems in drink and bumbled her way from one disaster to another until she decided to trace her birth mother and reconnect with the aboriginal family she never knew. While detail is often scant and the reader is left to fill in the blanks — Too Afraid to Cry is very much a broad brushstrokes type of memoir and some chapters are only a page long — it’s a wonderful tale of perseverance and hope. To read the rest of my review, please visit my blog.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Truly deserves the rating of absolutely amazing. I am I awe of this lady's ability to write, to tell her story and to go forward in life in what appears to be a very positive way. The blurb says it brilliantly about the way the book is written......"in bare blunt prose and piercingly lyrical verse" The author takes you the reader along on the ride that is her life experience, and the bluntness of the prose helps you to absorb the enormity of what has happened in her life without getting caught up i Truly deserves the rating of absolutely amazing. I am I awe of this lady's ability to write, to tell her story and to go forward in life in what appears to be a very positive way. The blurb says it brilliantly about the way the book is written......"in bare blunt prose and piercingly lyrical verse" The author takes you the reader along on the ride that is her life experience, and the bluntness of the prose helps you to absorb the enormity of what has happened in her life without getting caught up in any wallowing in the pain. The accompanying verse is incredible and adds a whole new dimension to the way you view events. The issues are around experiences of the Stolen Generation of Australian Indigenous people, of modern attitudes to our first people, and also the amazing way this family and extended family group have been able to reconnect as they find each other. That reconnection and the depth of culture is inspiring. The verse Circles and Squares, which is toward the end of the book is beautiful; what a way to be able to reflect on your life. I have added to my list of hopes in life. I hope I get the chance to hear this lady talk, and perhaps to meet her.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jodi Sh.

    #mustread I don't often recommend books, but I would have never come across this had I not met Ali Cobby Eckermann at a New Zealand literary festival and become completely enamored, completely by accident. Unless you believe in fate, then the universe intentionally took me to New Zealand so I could find out about this small, tender and honest memoir–and that is not without possibility. #mustread I don't often recommend books, but I would have never come across this had I not met Ali Cobby Eckermann at a New Zealand literary festival and become completely enamored, completely by accident. Unless you believe in fate, then the universe intentionally took me to New Zealand so I could find out about this small, tender and honest memoir–and that is not without possibility.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kassie

    A fantastic and heart wrenching memoir in poetry and prose. Read to gain some perspectives on the trauma of the Stolen Generation, and how much work needs to be done to heal the fissures we've inherited and caused. Decolonisation is more than an academic word, its a process we're all accountable for on stolen land. A fantastic and heart wrenching memoir in poetry and prose. Read to gain some perspectives on the trauma of the Stolen Generation, and how much work needs to be done to heal the fissures we've inherited and caused. Decolonisation is more than an academic word, its a process we're all accountable for on stolen land.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cheyenne Blue

    This is a book about families. Extended family, immediate family, add-ons and blow-ins. Families who are related by blood, by legal adoption, or by the loose ties of people declaring “these friends are my family”. It’s about belonging in more than one family, and moving assuredly in each. Ali Cobby Eckermann is a product of Australia’s stolen generations. She was lucky, and was given to a white, adoptive family who loved her, but even in the security of her adopted family, bad things happened to This is a book about families. Extended family, immediate family, add-ons and blow-ins. Families who are related by blood, by legal adoption, or by the loose ties of people declaring “these friends are my family”. It’s about belonging in more than one family, and moving assuredly in each. Ali Cobby Eckermann is a product of Australia’s stolen generations. She was lucky, and was given to a white, adoptive family who loved her, but even in the security of her adopted family, bad things happened to her that, although she doesn’t attribute it thus, seem less likely to have happened had she been white. In time, she reconnects with her aboriginal birth mother and many of her extended aboriginal family. It’s a story of desert landscape too, and I love these parts of the story. Some parts are hard to read, many parts are joyous and uplifting. It’s very simply written,and the style suits the tale that is told. There are 92 chapters, each only a page or two long. The words hold a power they wouldn’t if the story was more assuredly crafted. Many poems are interspersed with the prose memoir of Eckermann’s early life, some related to the chapters surrounding, others with a less obvious connection. Stand outs for me were “Stop Pretending” and “I Tell You True”. I can’t stop drinking, I tell you true Since I watched my daughter perish She burned to death inside a car I lost what I most cherish I saw the angels hold her As I screamed with useless hope I can’t stop drinking, I tell you true It’s the only way I cope!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marika

    Very sparse memoir of growing up as an Aboriginal girl in Australia.There was an ugly movement to remove these children from their parents..in the hopes that they would become more civilized. Each chapter ends with poetry. Perhaps it's the translation, as I didnt/couldn't viscerally connect with what truly is a horrific period of racism. I read an advance copy and was not compensated. Very sparse memoir of growing up as an Aboriginal girl in Australia.There was an ugly movement to remove these children from their parents..in the hopes that they would become more civilized. Each chapter ends with poetry. Perhaps it's the translation, as I didnt/couldn't viscerally connect with what truly is a horrific period of racism. I read an advance copy and was not compensated.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joan Davies

    I couldn't put this book down, read it in one session. I couldn't put this book down, read it in one session.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Fay

    I would like to thank Ali and the publisher for providing me a copy of this short book. The book is slim quick read. As with any book set in a foreign country, I enjoyed the insights to the ways of life in Australia and the Aboriginal culture. I can appreciate to vulnerability of the position the author takes in presenting her personal story to the world for judgement and the harshness/meanness of the general population. I am not intending to be one of those rude reviewers. I really enjoyed the I would like to thank Ali and the publisher for providing me a copy of this short book. The book is slim quick read. As with any book set in a foreign country, I enjoyed the insights to the ways of life in Australia and the Aboriginal culture. I can appreciate to vulnerability of the position the author takes in presenting her personal story to the world for judgement and the harshness/meanness of the general population. I am not intending to be one of those rude reviewers. I really enjoyed the beginning of the book about her childhood. The simple sentence structure and simple statement of facts and feelings put me in a child's mind where I could taste the strawberries mentioned and feel "icy" feelings she felt at horrible events which happened to her. The poetry pieces were nice. However as the author aged the writing style stayed the same. It became harder for me to relate to happenings and the random movements of her life all began to run together and become meaningless. Maybe this was the intention but it didn't work for me. Based on the awards I am clearly in the minority. I gave it 3 stars because I did sincerely like the book. With it's heavy themes and happenings I would not recommend it for a light read. I would recommend it to anyone who wants an small insight to Australia and how a child with loving adopted parents can still feel lost in the world. I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway and I am under no obligation to leave a review and do so voluntarily.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Watts

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The theme of 'Too Afraid to Cry' is one that will stick with you after you read this book. Throughout the book, Ali Cobby Eckerman leads you through all aspects of her life. The Author portrays the repercussions of the stolen generation, and how truly and deeply that can affect someone. This book is written very simply, yet still carries the emotion that is needed to truly feel the weight of these problems. She constantly deals with the feeling of not belonging and not exactly knowing where she i The theme of 'Too Afraid to Cry' is one that will stick with you after you read this book. Throughout the book, Ali Cobby Eckerman leads you through all aspects of her life. The Author portrays the repercussions of the stolen generation, and how truly and deeply that can affect someone. This book is written very simply, yet still carries the emotion that is needed to truly feel the weight of these problems. She constantly deals with the feeling of not belonging and not exactly knowing where she is from. During her life, she deals with her problems in some terrible ways, and has to learn to overcome these things. Being adopted by a family, although they were loving and kind, still had its downfalls. She lacked the connection to her culture that aboriginal children and adults need to feel worth. Her adoptive parent’s friends and family had abused her, and used their power over her for bad. The abuse that she went through as a child had a huge impact on the rest of her life. This book is not just a sad story though. She learns about her culture and her true, biological family. Through this, she finds meaning in her life and learns more about her past. Although I do admit, this book is not for everyone, as it has some heavy themes. It is very well written and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in books about indigenous-Australia and the problems that they have gone through throughout history.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    https://cavebookreviews.blogspot.com/ Ali Cobby Eckermann's memoir of her childhood as the adopted Aboriginal girl of a German family in Australia is half heartbreaking and many parts joy. ACE tells a story of childhood trauma and confusion about who she was. The narrative is clean, flows simply as if she is telling a story by the campfire. Interspersed between chapters, ACE gives us poetry that is beautiful, raising the story to great heights. I was particularly surprised at the transitory natur https://cavebookreviews.blogspot.com/ Ali Cobby Eckermann's memoir of her childhood as the adopted Aboriginal girl of a German family in Australia is half heartbreaking and many parts joy. ACE tells a story of childhood trauma and confusion about who she was. The narrative is clean, flows simply as if she is telling a story by the campfire. Interspersed between chapters, ACE gives us poetry that is beautiful, raising the story to great heights. I was particularly surprised at the transitory nature of Ali's life. After she left her adopted home on the farm at 17, she moved so frequently, had so little to live on and no one to count on. It is a miracle that Ali survived to become an internationally lauded poet. I loved the stories, the joy that came to her and the resolution of various questions and hurts that haunted her for so many years. It is difficult to read these kinds of stories but it is a gift to know that the actions of governments who try to wipe away indigenous cultures by taking children away from their mothers cannot ever be considered an option. Do yourself a favor and read this gem. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this ARC.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ema

    Ugh. I really hate to be giving this a low rating. But I was really disappointed by this, honestly. The writing is completely unemotional --Ali simply tells all the events that happened in chronological order. Very rarely did she offer an opinion or some larger context. Very rarely did she mention her emotions--and with a title like that, I needed the emotions. And, I am trying to think about this carefully because I don't want to be a white person exoticising another culture, but I really wanted Ugh. I really hate to be giving this a low rating. But I was really disappointed by this, honestly. The writing is completely unemotional --Ali simply tells all the events that happened in chronological order. Very rarely did she offer an opinion or some larger context. Very rarely did she mention her emotions--and with a title like that, I needed the emotions. And, I am trying to think about this carefully because I don't want to be a white person exoticising another culture, but I really wanted to know more about the Aboriginal people. I wanted to hear about how it was to find her family and what culture she was learning from them, what was different, what made it special, etcetera. It was really disappointing that I got simply the overlying plot arc. Aaaand (view spoiler)[at the end it turns out that her family hadn't put her up for adoption, which is completely glossed over. Was she angry? Did she ask questions? Did she look to find out more? Am I missing some greater context, having lived in the States for ten years? (hide spoiler)] This shocking piece was just glossed over. The poetry was the strongest point.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amy Morgan

    Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. I'm not quite sure what to think about this story. A memoir of a woman who was an Aboriginal recounts her life with both her adopted family and later in life her Aboriginal family as she is reunited with them. The author suffered many tragedies during her childhood and as an adult. This story is about finding her way back from the dark places she often found herself in and finding new joys in life by learning from and connecting with the famil Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. I'm not quite sure what to think about this story. A memoir of a woman who was an Aboriginal recounts her life with both her adopted family and later in life her Aboriginal family as she is reunited with them. The author suffered many tragedies during her childhood and as an adult. This story is about finding her way back from the dark places she often found herself in and finding new joys in life by learning from and connecting with the family she was taken from as a child. I think that parts of this were too scattered and confusing so a lot of it did not make sense to me. And I just could not connect with the poetry at the end of most of the chapters. All in all the story had an interesting premise I think I was just expecting more background and information on the kidnapping of the Aboriginal children from reading the synopsis of the book but overall still a very interesting story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rasma

    I really liked this memoir of an Aboriginal girl coming of age and coming to terms with her stolen childhood. Without any finger pointing or head wagging the author shows all sides of the picture. Every childhood is formed by the successes and foibles of well intentioned adults, as well as the devious acts of abusive adults and the inadvertent neglect of parents. When those adults are themselves formed by a deeply divided society at odds with its own values, with unexamined issues of race, ident I really liked this memoir of an Aboriginal girl coming of age and coming to terms with her stolen childhood. Without any finger pointing or head wagging the author shows all sides of the picture. Every childhood is formed by the successes and foibles of well intentioned adults, as well as the devious acts of abusive adults and the inadvertent neglect of parents. When those adults are themselves formed by a deeply divided society at odds with its own values, with unexamined issues of race, identity and belonging, well, it’s enough to drive anyone to drink. The narrative is told in short chapters, some just a page or two, that grow in length and complexity as the narrator ages. That smooth transition of perspective and voice are one of the aspects of this book that most impressed me. All in all, it’s a great insider Sorry Day tale and to my knowledge it’s a rare window that’s been opened here.

  18. 5 out of 5

    James Burgess

    Too afraid to cry is a confronting a book, there were points throughout it at which I was shocked by how careless people could be. For example, when she had her second child I had to stop reading because all that was going through my head was “How could someone do that! How could a human being dismiss a life, like that!” The matter of fact honesty with which the book is written really enhances the confronting nature of her story. It also through its own lack of emotion made me feel more for the s Too afraid to cry is a confronting a book, there were points throughout it at which I was shocked by how careless people could be. For example, when she had her second child I had to stop reading because all that was going through my head was “How could someone do that! How could a human being dismiss a life, like that!” The matter of fact honesty with which the book is written really enhances the confronting nature of her story. It also through its own lack of emotion made me feel more for the story than I might have done had it been written less skilfully. I really empathised for this story, the feeling I had as she worked through her problems and sorted out her life was something I’ve not really felt much before. It left me feeling deeply satisfied, and although this book isn’t something I would normally pick up and read, I would love to read more books like it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Don

    Disclaimer: I got an advance reading copy through a Goodreads giveaway. Too Afraid to Cry tells of a very different life than mine or of the stories I know. Ali Cobby Eckermann tells of abuse as a female and of adoption as an aboriginal child. She uses both prose and poetry for the story-telling. She tried running away from many of her troubles. Away was a mix of distance and drinking. But eventually she needed to run to something. Her indigenous family welcomed her with open arms. She looked in Disclaimer: I got an advance reading copy through a Goodreads giveaway. Too Afraid to Cry tells of a very different life than mine or of the stories I know. Ali Cobby Eckermann tells of abuse as a female and of adoption as an aboriginal child. She uses both prose and poetry for the story-telling. She tried running away from many of her troubles. Away was a mix of distance and drinking. But eventually she needed to run to something. Her indigenous family welcomed her with open arms. She looked in those faces and they looked in hers. In her they saw the eyes of mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. Family can be both the source of troubles and the resolution. She lived quite a journey trying to get to a place of acceptance.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Maughan

    I could not put this book down so I read it in one night. I am in awe of Ali's ability to write this memoir, but I guess that was easier than actually experiencing it. One minute my heart was pounding so fast, the next I was in tears and then a few pages later I was screaming out loud "Noooooo" - a remarkable feat for a story told so bluntly and matter-of-factly. If you have experienced violence of any kind I recommend this book as it will give you strength. A true gift, thank you Ali. I could not put this book down so I read it in one night. I am in awe of Ali's ability to write this memoir, but I guess that was easier than actually experiencing it. One minute my heart was pounding so fast, the next I was in tears and then a few pages later I was screaming out loud "Noooooo" - a remarkable feat for a story told so bluntly and matter-of-factly. If you have experienced violence of any kind I recommend this book as it will give you strength. A true gift, thank you Ali.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Zane

    Ali Cobby's memoir was about many things. Family, negative setting, emotion, drugs, aboriginal heritage, and drugs. I was quite confronted by the abuse and drug use. This made it hard for me to read. She writes about family and her life. I found the different patches in her life interesting. How different friend groups and jobs can change someone's behavior and actions. I really enjoyed this book although I found it confronting. I would recommend it Ali Cobby's memoir was about many things. Family, negative setting, emotion, drugs, aboriginal heritage, and drugs. I was quite confronted by the abuse and drug use. This made it hard for me to read. She writes about family and her life. I found the different patches in her life interesting. How different friend groups and jobs can change someone's behavior and actions. I really enjoyed this book although I found it confronting. I would recommend it

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laurie-Anne

    A tremendously moving memoir. Ali Cobby Eckermann has not lived one life, she’s lived many.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sourav

    This book is like meditation. I wrote a small poem immediately after completing the book. "it hurts and it heals In all that it speaks, So much it gives And so much it steals." What a fantastic book describing the plight of Australian Aboriginals. This is so well drafted, narrated and sung! This is, like Ali says, a bird song which will help you survive! This book is like meditation. I wrote a small poem immediately after completing the book. "it hurts and it heals In all that it speaks, So much it gives And so much it steals." What a fantastic book describing the plight of Australian Aboriginals. This is so well drafted, narrated and sung! This is, like Ali says, a bird song which will help you survive!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zelda

    Beautifully written book, with exquisitely written poems after most chapters. The author openly shares the heartbreak, loss, pain, and lack of trust she has experienced in her life. She also shows how deep the hole that was left in her soul due to being a stolen generation aboriginal child, separated from her culture and her people, and adopted by a white, German Lutheran family; who were very loving towards her and her adopted brothers. But who could not replace her natural heritage. She spends Beautifully written book, with exquisitely written poems after most chapters. The author openly shares the heartbreak, loss, pain, and lack of trust she has experienced in her life. She also shows how deep the hole that was left in her soul due to being a stolen generation aboriginal child, separated from her culture and her people, and adopted by a white, German Lutheran family; who were very loving towards her and her adopted brothers. But who could not replace her natural heritage. She spends many years as a tortured soul, addicted to drink and drugs, suffering from the loss of her own child, and the stillbirth of another. When she finally reconnects with her blood family, the sense of healing and joy is palpable. I loved this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I loved this book. It was such an authentic and heart-penetrating look into the life of an Indigenous person of Australia--from being adopted out (against the will of her mother) to childhood persecution in school, to the effects of abuse and alcoholism and to growth up and out of old damaging patterns of reacting to her pain and loss. The poems laced into the book were lovely. I agree with what the Cordite Poetry Review says, "Eckermann negotiates its painful territory without the dramatic of b I loved this book. It was such an authentic and heart-penetrating look into the life of an Indigenous person of Australia--from being adopted out (against the will of her mother) to childhood persecution in school, to the effects of abuse and alcoholism and to growth up and out of old damaging patterns of reacting to her pain and loss. The poems laced into the book were lovely. I agree with what the Cordite Poetry Review says, "Eckermann negotiates its painful territory without the dramatic of blame but with all he moral force of affective truth." The writing is lean and true to her distinct use of English in dialect.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Featherbooks

    Too Afraid to Cry by Ali Cobby Eckermann is a memoir from an Aboriginal woman in Australia as she battles drugs and alcohol, reunites with her own and her extended kin family after growing up with white farmers as part of the Stolen Generation of adoptees. She finds her creative side in art and writing and works in various jobs, including an art centre as she realizes her creative gifts. The blunt prose tell a captivating story in chapters alternating with verse,and highlight her deep attachmen Too Afraid to Cry by Ali Cobby Eckermann is a memoir from an Aboriginal woman in Australia as she battles drugs and alcohol, reunites with her own and her extended kin family after growing up with white farmers as part of the Stolen Generation of adoptees. She finds her creative side in art and writing and works in various jobs, including an art centre as she realizes her creative gifts. The blunt prose tell a captivating story in chapters alternating with verse,and highlight her deep attachment to the natural world and ancestral relationships as she learns their indigenous ways. It was completely absorbing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    WOW! Too Afraid to Cry is a beautiful retelling of Eckermann's life as a young Aboriginal trying to assimilate to white Australian culture and her journey of understanding her own culture and her role within it. I'm not a huge fan of poetry, but some of her poems really spoke to me. Her voice was so genuine and honest through the whole book. I also learned a lot about the mistreatment of Aboriginals in Australia, and saw perfect parallels to that of Indigenous people in the United States. WOW! Too Afraid to Cry is a beautiful retelling of Eckermann's life as a young Aboriginal trying to assimilate to white Australian culture and her journey of understanding her own culture and her role within it. I'm not a huge fan of poetry, but some of her poems really spoke to me. Her voice was so genuine and honest through the whole book. I also learned a lot about the mistreatment of Aboriginals in Australia, and saw perfect parallels to that of Indigenous people in the United States.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mona AlvaradoFrazier

    This is the author's story (one of many for Australia's Stolen Generation, aboriginal children stolen from their parents and adopted out to white families), The writer's style is unflinchingly direct and we hear the suffering and trauma that impacted her life. Her search for reconnection to her family of origin is a journey to wholeness. This is the author's story (one of many for Australia's Stolen Generation, aboriginal children stolen from their parents and adopted out to white families), The writer's style is unflinchingly direct and we hear the suffering and trauma that impacted her life. Her search for reconnection to her family of origin is a journey to wholeness.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    I enjoyed this read. It's not difficult in it's language and an easy read, but I liked the tone used. The book has stories of sexual abuse and rape, racism, sexism, drug abuse, and recovery and redemption. It's topics are not easy, but there are moments of joy and humor which aide the reader along the way. I enjoyed this read. It's not difficult in it's language and an easy read, but I liked the tone used. The book has stories of sexual abuse and rape, racism, sexism, drug abuse, and recovery and redemption. It's topics are not easy, but there are moments of joy and humor which aide the reader along the way.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    An easy to read book written in simple prose, but there is nothing easy or simple about this story. A sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes heartwarming telling of the author's complicated life. SO worth the time. An easy to read book written in simple prose, but there is nothing easy or simple about this story. A sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes heartwarming telling of the author's complicated life. SO worth the time.

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