Book Review: Cruel Harvest, A Memoir
Cruel Harvest is a memoir about Fran Elizabeth Grubb, a woman of Christian faith who grew up in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s with a highly dysfunctional family. She was the victim of near-constant emotional, physical and sometimes sexual abuse from her father starting at a young age until about the middle of her teen years.
The story traps the reader in the uncertain world of a traveling family spearheaded by Frann’s abusive father Broadus, usually referred to as “Daddy”. The constant juxtaposition of the innocent child-like association of “Daddy” and Broadus’ violent actions towards children and women start early in the book. The constant cycle of horrendous treatment of Frann and her family under the literal hand of Broadus quickly create an emotional attachment to the victims and anger towards the victimizer that builds up the entire book.
It is hard to “review” this book as it is a very personal memoir filled with sometimes gut-wrenching details on the very touchy subject of abuse. That being said, it is not a literary masterpiece. There are times when narrative commentary ruins the tension of certain scenes. Some of the writing is a bit plain, but the content is never boring. The attachment to the characters keep one interested in the developments through the good times and bad.
Cruel Harvest is a much-needed reality check for those who are unaware of the prominence of abuse in our society. But more importantly, it is also a solemn friend to those victims who feel alone in the dangerous cycle of abuse.